How to educate me about prejudice in the open-source community

Every once in a while I post something just to have it handy as a reference for the next time I have to deal with a galloping case of some particular kind of sloppy thinking. That way I don’t have to generate an individual explanation, but can simply point at my general standards of evidence.

This one is about accusations of sexism, racism, and other kinds of prejudice in the open-source culture.

First, a statement of principle: in the hacker culture, you should be judged by your work and your work alone. It is wrong for anyone to be attacked, belittled, or excluded because of the color of their skin, the shape of their genitals, what they like to do with their genitals, their politics, their religion, or any other irrelevancy. We are, and should remain, a place where those marginalized because of some aspect of their meatspace identities can find community and a place to do fulfilling work.

I have always stood up for this norm, and will till I die. If I am presented with evidence that anyone in the community has violated it, I will exert whatever authority I have as a tribal elder to condemn that violation and point the community in an ethically correct direction.

That said, in practice I believe such violations are very rare. So rare, in fact, that I cannot now say I know with certainty of even one. On the other hand, I do know of a lot of accusations having been flung by three categories of people: the mentally disturbed, drama queens, and political carpetbaggers. Of these, I consider the last – people seeking social and political power that they have not earned through the merit of their work – to be the most dangerous, enough so that they cannot merely be ignored but must be actively countered and ejected from our community.

In the remainder of this post I will explain what you need to do to present me with a prejudice-related grievance in order to get my full attention. I cannot enforce these standards on other elders or anyone else, but I recommend them to all.

First: Be humble. Don’t walk in assuming your outrage over whatever injustice is bothering you entitles you to dictate to us. It doesn’t – and, anyway, hackers are often prickly, countersuggestible people who don’t take well to what they perceive as attempts to jerk them around, so you’ll self-sabotage if you come on too strong. We have lots of work to do and limited patience for distractions; your cause may be important, but you are not, so start humble and reasonable and stay that way.

Second: show me your code. I want to see URLs to public repositories with your commits in them. (OpenHub statistics will do for a first cut.) Your credibility goes up with commit volume and number of different projects. and especially with the number of other people you have collaborated with.

In theory, I might be open to other metrics than commit volume for people who aren’t primarily software engineers. But that’s an edge case; the point is, whether it’s lines of code or Thingiverse objects or PCB layouts, I want to see evidence of contributed work.

There are three reasons I filter on this. One is that if you don’t contribute to the open-source work, I don’t consider that you have earned the right to lecture me or the open-source community on how we should behave or think.

Another is that if you haven’t put in time playing well with others, any claim you make to know how the community operates and whether it in fact suffers from ingrained prejudices is ungrounded. You need to know our problems, our adaptive strategies, and the reasons we organize and communicate the way we do before your opinion will be worth anything. Make your bones, get that experience, then maybe we can talk.

A third reason is that this is an extremely difficult filter for the people who generate false positives – the mentally disturbed, the drama queens, and the political carpetbaggers – to actually pass. Usually they suffer from a combination of stupidity, laziness, and antisociality that prevents them from contributing effectively. By stopping them here at an objective criterion we can avoid more difficult arguments about later filters.

Third: show me your evidence. I want to see evidence of specific harm, attack, or attempts to exclude, on identifiable victims, by identifiable perpetrators. It isn’t sufficient to say, for example, “Women (or black people, or gays) can’t get their patches accepted, or are sexually/racially taunted on forums.” and then wave your hands as though the accusation itself is to be treated as evidence and anyone demanding specifics is part of the problem.

I want to see concrete evidence of specific incidents – mailing-list traffic, IRC captures, pointers to web pages. If you can’t produce that evidence, you aren’t having a problem with the public behavior of hackers (or anyone else) and I can’t address it.

Fourth: Do not ever try to kafkatrap me. You do that, your credibility goes to negative infinity and stays there. You not only discredit yourself, you damage your allies and your cause.

Fifth: Convince me that you’re actually talking about anyone who actually regards me as a tribal elder. This means that you can’t go on about gamers, or 4chan, or neoreactionaries, or “brogrammers”, or any one of three dozen other on-line cultures or population categories in which a reasonable person might (rightly or wrongly) read evidence of bigotry, and expect me to care more than in a general, abstract way. They aren’t my people or my problem; you need to go find their tribal elders and complain to them.

If, on the other hand, you had a bad experience somewhere else and insist on sweeping open-source hackers into the same bucket because we look something like those people, or smell like them, or whatever…then you are the problem.

Sixth: If you have evidence of a specific instance, and want to persuade me that it is an index for a general pattern of prejudiced or hostile or belittling behavior, then come equipped with a generative theory of why your experience far from me differs from the almost ideally unprejudiced behavior I have observed near me over nearly forty years.

That is, you need to explain why I should consider that your claim of systemic prejudice flatly contradicts my everyday experience of hackers not caring about anything but quality of work. As a feminist would say, you need to not deny my lived experience.

Note: theories of the form “You’re blinded by your own prejudices/privilege” are kafkatrapping; see above, these will just set your credibility to negative infinity. Bring a theory which can be tested by falsifiable consequences, or don’t bother.

Generally, remember that neither I nor my community have a lot of patience for sloppy thinking, special pleading, or lazy guilt-tripping. If your reaction to this advice is to dismiss these as defensive rationalizations for not giving a shit, then we don’t give a shit about you.

If you pass all these filters, maybe you have something to teach me, and maybe you’ll get to see what I’m like when I am righteously pissed off because hacker norms have been violated in a serious way. It is part of my job to come down like the wrath of God when that happens – it’s what my community trusts and expects me to do.

That is all.

385 thoughts on “How to educate me about prejudice in the open-source community

  1. I’m curious: Did something specific trigger this?

    I wouldn’t expect you to say what; just wondering.

  2. Isn’t that not best practice in all engineering cultures?
    During my work as an engineer I never do judge based on skin color, race or Sex. I judge based on capabilities and whether the other person is good at his job.
    We work in multi-cultural teams for years now and while culture is sometimes a road block (Asian culture of loosing face for example) we learn to live with that. The Sorry topics of the left and right about color and Sex never have been a problem.

  3. Where would the case of Susan Sharp (who stopped contributing to Linux kernel over alleged prejudice, if I remember it correctly) fall?

    • >Where would the case of Susan Sharp (who stopped contributing to Linux kernel over alleged prejudice, if I remember it correctly) fall?

      Insufficient data.

  4. Very nice. Something you might want to add, maybe fits under #3 or #6, is that it’s not enough to show evidence of rude behavior; a person who is evenhandedly rude is not prejudiced merely because they are rude towards e.g. women as well as men.

  5. Where would the case of Susan Sharp (who stopped contributing to Linux kernel over alleged prejudice, if I remember it correctly) fall?

    I don’t think she demonstrated actual, specific prejudice; she just complained about a “toxic community” and made vague references to homophobic jokes and like without specifying perpetrator, victim, and content of offense.

    The hilarious bit is how Linus shut her down — by trying to out-SJW the SJW. He said basically “It’s called management by perkele. Look it up; it’s a Finnish thing. By scolding me for my behavior you’re disrespecting my culture.”

    It didn’t really work, of course; like a white suburban dad attempting hip-hop lingo, if you don’t come from the culture your attempts at manifesting behaviors of the culture come off as mere posturing. The extent to which Linus’s and others’ foul mouths are tolerated on official community fora is still considered a problem, and a factor which may alienate valuable potential kernel hackers. But points to Linus for effort.

  6. a person who is evenhandedly rude is not prejudiced merely because they are rude towards e.g. women as well as men.

    That was a major problem with Sharp’s case; Linus swears up a blue streak to all genders and ethnicities equally.

  7. This is an excellent example of rationality as it should be practiced. Hopefully it will also have an impact beyond this subject matter.

    This is the type of wisdom that should be propagated via our Darwinian heritage, and the only way that will happen is if the crazies are disincentivized to be insane.

  8. Start here:

    http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/02/data-analysis-of-github-contributions-reveals-unexpected-gender-bias/

    And read this for the full paper:

    https://peerj.com/preprints/1733/:

    TL;DR: Once someone is accepted into the community, what you say is absolutely correct: Only your code matters; women in the community are slightly likelier to have accepted code commits.

    For people who are new to the community, there are biases against women. The community is likelier to demand a known female coder ‘prove her worth’ to a much greater extent than for a male programmer.

    The obvious ‘solution’ — and one that is practiced nearly universally by long tenured women in Open Source communities, is to pass yourself off as genderless or male, and ideally as European or American.

    This may sound like I’m demanding special pleading. I’m not. Compared to commercial programming, Open Source is vastly better for women who can get accepted within the community in the first place.

    My plea is this: If you’re a hierate in the community, not even a tribal elder…offer to mentor female coders *specifically* as an experiment. Observe, annotate, and build data sets. In particular, like any mentor/mentee relationship, be aware of people who’re throwing flak at your pupil, and why.

    Gaming (tabletop and online) has a similar profile: The women who get into the community and stay there tend to be as capable of dishing disses and smack talk as the guys. The ones who try the community out get shoved away from the community by insecure wankers, who, not having climbed the hierarchy themselves…see a woman in the community and decide that they, at last, have someone they can shit on to make themselves feel bigger.

    • >For people who are new to the community, there are biases against women. The community is likelier to demand a known female coder ‘prove her worth’ to a much greater extent than for a male programmer.

      My senior apprentice is female. We have discussed this, and her report does not match yours.

      That said, I can think of several possible reasons women might think they have a tougher time getting in. One of them is prejudice, but that is implicitly argued against by the paper you cite.

      The first thought that occurs to me is that women may not objectively getting more pressure to prove themselves, but believe they are because they are more sensitive to signals of social challenge and disapproval than men are.

      Another possibility is that they are objectively getting more pressure, but that this is a rational response to some kind of incentive that changes sign once they’re accepted contributors. I can think of a couple of possibilities, but I’m not going to go into them yet lest the discussion rathole on that.

      >Gaming (tabletop and online) has a similar profile

      Careful. It’s tempting to think that hackers have the same issues about female newbies that gamers do, but there’s less similarity than you’d think. I could find male gamers talking smack about gurrrls with probably five minutes of searching; on the other hand, male hackers talking the same kind of smack is so rare that I don’t recall ever having actually seen it myself, though I have heard one or two reports that seem credible. (This is in forty years, mind you.)

    • >That github study was mostly p-hacking.

      I know what p-hacking means as a general term. In what specific way do you propose it distorted the results of this study?

  9. @ Ken Burnside

    We have to stop viewing every form of hardship that we encounter in life as a disease that must be eradicated via social or political prohibition. Every time you ratchet down the threshold for taking offense at something, you encourage hypersensitivity rather resilience. In the extreme, this will turn every workplace into a whiner’s paradise. The proper response to an asshole or bully is to make them eat their words or give back twice as hard.

  10. Basically they sliced and diced the data until they got the answer they wanted. First, overall, they found that pull requests made by women are not less likely to be accepted than those made by men. Then they checked outsiders only — nope, women’s acceptance rate still higher. Then they checked distribution of acceptance rate. Then they checked acceptance rate over time. Then they checked by number of projects. Then they checked by whether or not the pulls were for a documented issue. Then they checked by change size, and by code type. None of these get the “women are discriminated against” result.

    Finally, they decide to determine whether there’s a difference based on whether or not the women were identifiable as such. But they don’t actually present those results; instead, they further slice the data into insiders and outsiders so it is split four ways. Now, finally, we see that in exactly one of those four groups (gendered — that is, gender identifiable) outsiders) women have fewer pull requests accepted than men. Gender bias found, roll the presses. The interesting fact that the acceptance rate for gendered men is less than that for gender neutral men is ignored.

    When the study came out, Scott Alexander of Slate Star Codex did a post on it.

    http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/02/12/before-you-get-too-excited-about-that-github-study/

    (based on an older version of the study, so page numbers don’t match)

    His point #8 is on the P-hacking

    > 8. There’s no study-wide analysis, and no description of how many different subgroup analyses the study tried before settling on Insiders vs. Outsiders (nor how many different definitions of Insider vs. Outsider they tried). Remember, for every subgroup you try, you need to do a Bonferroni correction. This study does not do any Bonferroni corrections; given its already ambiguous confidence intervals, a proper correction would almost certainly destroy the finding.

    (The newer version of the study has less ambiguous confidence intervals)

    • >Then they checked outsiders only — nope, women’s acceptance rate still higher.

      That doesn’t square very well with Ken’s model of female outsiders having extra trouble getting accepted.

  11. These requirements seem to be constructed in such a way that you’ll acknowledge only problems that you are prepared to accept as your responsibility. That’s not a problem if you take it as a given that someone telling you about a problem is attempting to convince you to take specific, concrete action in your capacity as an open-source hacker of standing. (Though I would suggest that this is not the only role you publicly fill.)

    I think that there is a possible sampling error here. Perhaps it can be clarified by a definition. What is “the community” to you? Is it “Current and former contributors to open-source projects?” Or is it “Individuals qualified to contribute to open-source projects?”

    Further, are your evidentiary standards intended to admit only evidence pertaining to discrimination *within* the community (however defined), or is evidence pertaining to discrimination affecting *entry into* the community also germane?

    • >These requirements seem to be constructed in such a way that you’ll acknowledge only problems that you are prepared to accept as your responsibility.

      Not exactly. My primary concern is filtering out false reports, of which I think we have a politically-driven epidemic. Philosophically, I’m not “responsible” for the behavior of any other person!

      >What is “the community” to you?

      For purposes of this discussion, I’m prepared to accept a relaxed and maximalist definition that includes people trying to join.

      >is evidence pertaining to discrimination affecting *entry into* the community also germane?

      Absolutely. If the people behaving in a prejudiced manner are part of my tribe, I think it matters little whether the prejudice is directed at people already within the community or those trying to join.

      That has a qualification, though. I don’t think it’s really my business if a hacker is (say) a white supremacist off-line, but behaves in accordance with community norms about judging only by the work when dealing with hackers or hacker aspirants. That may seem unlikely, but human beings are bizarrely capable of compartmentalizing such behaviors.

      I would unload both barrels on someone like that if he engaged me in political discussion, but then it would be my obligation not to let my judgment of his character mess with my evaluation of his code. If I failed to maintain that separation, he would have a just complaint against me.

  12. A general point: If someone is claiming that code from different sorts of people is unfalirly evaluated, then it makes sense that this claim can only be made sensibly by someone who can evaluate code.

    However, whether insults are common doesn’t take that sort of knowledge– it doesn’t take the sort of careful filtering that claims about code requires.

    I’ve wondered whether the differering claims from women about prejudice against women among programmers could be a result of variations in local culture. Nobody’s lying or oversensitive, it’s just a matter of different experiences.

    • >I’ve wondered whether the differering claims from women about prejudice against women among programmers could be a result of variations in local culture. Nobody’s lying or oversensitive, it’s just a matter of different experiences.

      I wish I could think of a way to test this theory.

  13. variations in local culture

    How would you even define “local”? Geographically? By some sort of globally shared community norms? By particular languageish/project community?

  14. > No, I’ve had it in my drafts queue for a while.

    I’m curious as to whether it has been in that queue for this long?

    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=5069#comment-413098

    I’m not qualified to complain according to this post, so I’m just going to point out that I find this post interesting in the context of this behaviour.

    > This one is about accusations of sexism, racism, and other kinds of prejudice in the open-source culture.

    Does religion or religion-like characteristics count? If not, why not?

    • >Does religion or religion-like characteristics count?

      Of course they do. You can be as crazy as you choose off the job and it’s nobody’s business.

  15. [me] >I’ve wondered whether the differering claims from women about prejudice against women among programmers could be a result of variations in local culture. Nobody’s lying or oversensitive, it’s just a matter of different experiences.

    [esr] I wish I could think of a way to test this theory.

    I can’t think of a very clean way to test the theory, but it might be worth looking for whether there are clumps (people, community, time) of similar complaints and lack of complaints.

  16. Oh please God no, not this old horseshit again.

    I have had to suffer through interminable bullshit like “women in engineering” drives whilst involved in academia. The idea that ‘diversifying’ the workplace to ‘include’ more women will result in some magically superior vaginally-oriented-programming has never, ever struck gold.

    In fact, sad to say, I have seen more distressed young women drop out of CS courses…emotionally distraught that they failed to live up to some feminist ideal of ’empowerment’…than I care to quantify. They were all wonderful young ladies with bright minds and futures, but they had been fraudulently pushed into the wrong specialty. The crusty old feminist CS professors simply didn’t care about the damage they were doing. It was disgusting.

    As far as I’m concerned, XX or XY, if you have an intellect capable of wrapping itself around the mathematical abstractions required for software engineering, then you are a winner in my book, and I welcome you to my team with open arms.

    Why the fuck does it have to be any more complicated than that?

    (Rhetorical question – I already know the answer)

  17. “I want to see URLs to public repositories with your commits in them.”

    Just a data point here: I nuked all my github repos and closed my account when they hired the reprehensible Coraline Ada Ehmke to work on “community management” and “anti-harassment”, which is analogous to hiring Dr. Goebbels to be the head of B’nai B’rith.

    I do not think I’m the only one who did this.

  18. @Doctor Locketopus –

    > “I want to see URLs to public repositories with your commits in them.”

    > Just a data point here: I nuked all my github repos and closed my account when they hired …

    I’m sure OGH would accept as valid evidence of one’s standing in the community history dumps of said repos, etc. I’m assuming you didn’t nuke your work, just the public sharing of such (at that one particular site). As long as you could demonstrate that you weren’t just a poseur, you would pass that second filter.

    • >I’m sure OGH would accept as valid evidence of one’s standing in the community history dumps of said repos,

      Yes, though with some reluctance. The reason I specified “public” is that open-source work ought to be part of a public conversation that anyone can contribute to. It’s easy enough to set up your own publicly-accessible repository that I don’t see a lot of point in shipping around dumps.

  19. “I’m sure OGH would accept as valid evidence of one’s standing in the community history dumps of said repos, etc.”

    Well, I’m actually at a stage in my life where I don’t need to show that kind of evidence, personally.

    I think I was unclear. Let me rephrase the hypothetical:

    What about a young person, just starting out, who needs to accumulate evidence, but doesn’t want to hand his code over to github (or any other SJW-converged repository site)?

    Are there any such sites? AFAICT, all the majors have fallen prey to Ehmke’s “Contributor Covenant” (or their own homegrown political purity tests with similar effect).

    What happened to code repositories being sites for sharing code, rather than sites for enforcing someone’s political agenda?

  20. @Doctor Locketopus –

    > What about a young person, just starting out, who needs to accumulate evidence, but doesn’t want to hand his code over to github (or any other SJW-converged repository site)?

    > Are there any such sites?

    It’s not that tough or expensive to set up your own website, hosted IDK where, and put a git repo on it.

    Yes, you won’t get a lot of public visibility – unless your stuff is good and valuable. Which is the real 2nd criterion OGH is looking for.

    We are in an era when better, non-political repo sites and software forges are desperately needed. We’ll get there soon. (Or at least eventually.)

  21. > You can be as crazy as you choose off the job and it’s nobody’s business.

    I think one of the reasons I’m seeing more dustups is because we’re seeing blurred lines between in-project and out-of-project communications. 10–20 years ago, someone could have odd opinions on some Usenet group and people outside that Usenet group wouldn’t be aware of said odd opinions.

    In the past five years or so, though, it seems easier to talk about things that happen elsewhere on the internet because so much more is on the Web and Twitter. These days, someone will say something odd on a pseudonymous blog of his, link to his day job from the opinion blog (but not in reverse), and then someone else can complain about his opinions on Twitter, broadcasting the odd opinions to everybody with fairly low friction…and low ignorability (if you’re on Twitter).

    I started seeing permeability increases a while ago. Gervase Markham wrote something about gay marriage on his own blog that indicated he wasn’t a supporter of the state mandating support of it. The post got picked up by the Planet Mozilla aggregator, and everyone got mad at both him and Mozilla for a couple of weeks.

    I’m not sure how to reinstate the old norms or make people more accepting of/indifferent to weird opinions.

  22. >Yes, you won’t get a lot of public visibility – unless your stuff is good and valuable.”

    I think you are grossly underestimating the size of the network effect from being on a prominent repo site. Grossly. “Not a lot” is a rather severe understatement here.

    > We are in an era when better, non-political repo sites and software forges are desperately needed. We’ll get there soon.

    Looking forward to it.

  23. I’d suggest to look at gitlab. Self-Hosted or not.

    That said, non-exclusive code of conduct and contribution guidelines aren’t a bad idea as long they aren’t aimed at singling out people in a way or another.


  24. > they had been fraudulently pushed into the wrong specialty. The crusty old feminist CS professors simply didn’t care about the damage they were doing. It was disgusting.

    — It is not the job of the professors to make “choices” for others. The job of professors is to teach and/or conduct research. These poor choices are due to other problems in the system. A lot of people (male+female) are “fraudulently pushed into the wrong specialty”. A lot more people are “fraudulently pushed” to get worthless degrees
    — Delete “gender studies” from academia will be on its way to recovery. Gender studies are academia’s cancer

  25. That has a qualification, though. I don’t think it’s really my business if a hacker is (say) a white supremacist off-line, but behaves in accordance with community norms about judging only by the work when dealing with hackers or hacker aspirants. That may seem unlikely, but human beings are bizarrely capable of compartmentalizing such behaviors.

    While I don’t think he’s a “white supremacist” as such “off-line” in his essays under the pseudonym Moldbug, the travails of Curtis Yarvin as a pure hacker are illuminating, to the point I’m pretty sure they’ve killed any chance his Urbit might have in the so called marketplace of ideas. See also Brendan Eich and many less prominent people; as you have more than acknowledged, we have a severe problem of political prejudice in enough of the open-source community that I have to wonder if it’s even worth my time to try to start up my own major project that only makes sense if a community develops from it.

    Doubly annoying in that I didn’t really have a chance to fly under the radar, having started my on-line “political” presence under my True Name in the early ’80s, when PC was sufficiently young that being “conservative” didn’t outright earn ostracism.

  26. “I’ve wondered whether the differering claims from women about prejudice against women among programmers could be a result of variations in local culture. Nobody’s lying or oversensitive, it’s just a matter of different experiences.”

    Thinking about this some more…. Local variation should be assumed because people are like that.

    Some people are crazy or lying but I think the proportion is fairly low. More people will shade things a little in their favor.

    Part of the problem is that Social Justice doesn’t quantify. I think most people don’t quantify, but Social Justice is *really* bad at it. For them, every bad thing of a certain sort is equivalent to every other bad thing of that sort, regardless of size. This means that a couple of insults is counted as being as bad as sustained campaign of exclusion.

  27. @esr:

    > The first thought that occurs to me is that women may not objectively getting more pressure to prove themselves, but believe they are because they are more sensitive to signals of social challenge and disapproval than men are.

    I think this is part of it. Another part is that the standard nerd personality (including a good proportion of hackers) tends to be even more insensitive to social cues than the average man, even more inclined not to suffer fools lightly, and even more inclined to run with lots of interrupts masked. All of these factors, from what I’ve seen, tend to strongly contribute to strife between genders.

  28. Re Your point #1.

    “You don’t get to determine whether or not I care if you’re offended.”
    (h/t Instapundit, a few days ago).

  29. >Is there not a single forge out here that you don’t find politically acceptable?

    I don’t know — that’s why I asked. :-) Certainly github (the 2,000 pound gorilla here) isn’t. Gitlab also has a CoC (though I’m not sure if that applies to self-hosting — it may not).

    “Politically acceptable” is the wrong term here, I think. I want it to be politically blind. A political agenda of any sort is the Wrong Thing.

    Note, and note well, that this doesn’t necessarily mean that I disagree with all of the (alleged) goals in the various CoCs. For instance, I don’t oppose gay marriage. More precisely, I don’t think the government should be involved in marriage in the first place, other than as a recorder of the contract, and providing a court system to apportion disputed assets (and children) if the contract is dissolved. I just don’t think that kind of stuff belongs in a friggin’ software repo. What the hell does that have to do with anything? This mania for dragging personal politics into every single aspect of life has gotten way out of hand.

    And nope, setting up your own server isn’t the answer for young people trying to make a name for themselves.

    Example: go to Google and search for “markdown parser Javascript”. Count how many pages you have to go through before you find a link that a) goes to actual code and b) is not hosted on GitHub.

    It’s all very well to say that better code will win out, but that’s not going to happen if no one ever sees it.

  30. Fascinating.

    By that definition, I’m not certain I would have any standing to complain. My last major OSS contributions were ~10 years ago. Since then I’ve gone on to work for $MEGA_TECH_FIRM[2] where very little, if any, of my work is publicly visible.

    I suspect Eric would hear me out because he knows me personally, but that doesn’t scale. OTOH, I’m not exactly “plugged-in” any more, either. Interesting thought experiment.

    • >By that definition, I’m not certain I would have any standing to complain.

      You’re an interesting borderline case – past contributor, still culturally connected in a way J. Random Codemonkey wouldn’t be. I think that gives you some standing, though in your shoes I would think it wise to listen more than I talk in a gathering of insiders.

  31. All right, I must be missing something. Does GitHub not accept repositories for projects that don’t use an SJW-compliand code of conduct?

  32. All right, I must be missing something. Does GitHub not accept repositories for projects that don’t use an SJW-compliand code of conduct?

    No, it’s not nearly that silly. I have a bunch of things there, some public, none with a code of conduct. On the other hand, there’s this egregious case:

    Interesting. For projects that don’t need a “community” we’ve been using Amazon CodeCommit.

    We don’t like to use Github anymore because of the politics there. Example: We had a project involving software filters that included this sentence in the description:

    > Phase is related to time, but a pure time delay does not involve any phase shift. A pure time delay or “group delay” is constant with frequency. Phase shift varies with frequency and can advance or retard as the frequency changes.

    We got a note from a woman who works at github who was apparently scanning open source projects for “offensive” words. Our project was flagged for the use of the word “retard”.

    We removed our project and never used github again.

    • >A while back a woman named Valerie Aurora wrote an article about harassment at Open Source conferences that I believe meets all of your criteria:

      It comes close. However, Valerie Aurora is a bit of a red flag.

      A women-in-tech activist I know and trust says Ms. Aurora has been known to fabricate incidents, and that an internal fight over this led to the shutdown of the Ada Initiative in 2015. My informant doesn’t want to be named because whether these misdeeds should be admitted is a hot controversy in activist circles; some think that closing ranks around an admittedly flawed leader is less bad for the movement than the credibility hit it would take from admitting that Ms. Aurora has been spinning yarns. It is not alleged by anyone that that all her claims are false.

      I believe this report in part because a different source informed me that the Ada Initiative made repeated attempts to honeytrap Linus.

      All this does not mean I assume the entire article is bogus, but it does mean I would need to check with some of the women she cites as sources before giving it much weight. Two of them are known to me. Cat Allman I would trust to give an accurate report; the other one, maybe not.

      The fact that the most serious allegations are the ones least tied to any source that can be checked independently of Ms. Aurora’s report does nothing to raise my trust level.

  33. I will say, having discussed this issue with some trustworthy women in the hard sciences(including the one I’m marrying), there’s some stuff that can escape our view as guys. There’s been a few instances of “Huh, he seemed like such a nice guy” “Yeah, he is to you, because he doesn’t want to get in your pants”(or similar) that seem to have held up to what amount of scrutiny that I’m able to give them, and come from people who I trust not to be unreasonable on these issues.

    On the whole, your rules seem reasonable(a potential petitioner will likely disagree, but you have the same incentive as all public people to implement strong filters to minimize wasted time, which seems perfectly fair to me), and I’m not disagreeing with them. And, like you, I’ve found the tech community to be wonderfully low on prejudice overall. But I just want to strike a note of caution – we’re discussing societally unacceptable behaviours of intelligent humans here, so they’re both strongly incentivized to hide them when possible and at least somewhat capable of doing so. Some sins will necessarily exist out of our view.

    • >Some sins will necessarily exist out of our view.

      That is true. Not sure what we can do about that, though, short of widespread lifelogging.

  34. It’s not really actionable information inits own right. I more intend it as a data point to help calibrate skepticism levels than anything else.

  35. > In this essay, I will show that the kafkatrap is a form of argument that is so fallacious and manipulative that those subjected to it are entitled to reject it based entirely on the form of the argument.

    Later.

    > Yeah, that confirms it; you’re a complete drooling nutter.

    Still later.

    > Of course [religious prejudice counts.] You can be as crazy as you choose off the job and it’s nobody’s business.

    I am of the opinion that not making an argument at all and going straight for the ad hominem is a lower form of argumentation than the kafkatrap. If you ever explained the thought process that led you to make these comments, I certainly missed it and would appreciate a link.

    Also, what if it *does* affect my work? According to Colossians 3:22-24, it’s supposed to.

    • >If you ever explained the thought process that led you to make these comments, I certainly missed it and would appreciate a link.

      You have a short memory, and I don’t think it’s worth my time to argue with you.

    • >What about other participants in Open Source projects, such as artists, documentation writers, etc?

      The answer isn’t obvious? I said “contributed work”; there’s little point in being fussy about what kind.

  36. @Doctor Locketopus “What happened to code repositories being sites for sharing code, rather than sites for enforcing someone’s political agenda?”

    The term of art you’re looking for is “converged.”

    “Even as the institutions have been invaded and coopted in the interests of social justice, they have been rendered unable to fulfill their primary functions. This is the great internal contradiction that the SJWs will never be able to positively resolve, just as the Soviet communists were never able to resolve the contradiction of socialist calculation that brought down their economy and their empire 69 years after Ludwig von Mises first pointed it out. One might call it the Impossibility of Social Justice Convergence; no man can serve two masters and no institution can effectively serve two different functions. The more an institution converges towards the highest abstract standard of social and distributive justice, the less it is able to perform its primary function.”

    From _SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police_ by Vox Day

  37. >>For projects that don’t need a “community” we’ve been using Amazon CodeCommit.

    Thanks for quoting the piece that mentioned this. I’d somehow missed seeing CodeCommit among the three billion other Amazon cloud services. While it doesn’t solve the public visibility problem, it does meet my need for an off-site repo without a) giving money to some SJW-converged operation like GitHub or b) playing sysadmin myself (which I can do, and did do for many years… I don’t just want to do that any more, thanks).

  38. @Terry,

    “I am of the opinion that not making an argument at all and going straight for the ad hominem is a lower form of argumentation than the kafkatrap.”

    Where did esr go for the ad hominem? The ad hominem fallacy does not mean insulting or vehemently criticizing people. It means a specific kind of wrongful inference of the form “Bob is wrong because he is ugly” or “Alice’s logic is incorrect because she is a fascist”. These are fallacies because they attack the arguer as a substitute for attacking the argument, which is bad reasoning.

    There is no fallacy involved in saying that Alice and Bob are wrong and ugly and fascists and crazy drooling nutters. Also, there is no fallacy involved in merely calling Carol names. Neither is there any fallacy in saying that one ought not to listen to David because David is a serial liar – as this is an attack on the credibility of David’s premises rather than on David’s logic.

    But when you appear to mistake vulgarity for fallacy as in your post, I think you might be committing a form of the ad hominem yourself: “esr is wrong because esr is impolite”.

  39. > I don’t think it’s really my business if a hacker is (say) a white supremacist off-line

    What’s the definition of “off-line”? I don’t remember the specifics offhand, but ISTR one recent high-profile fight was regarding someone’s conduct on a twitter account that said something like “[project] core developer” in the page header.

    • >What’s the definition of “off-line”?

      There was a time when I would have thought a lot about this and emitted a beautifully worked out a-prioristic answer. That was before I fully understood what lawyers are driving at when they said “Hard cases make bad law”.

      Decisions like this are a lot like trying to figure out your own utility function. You don’t have the information to do it, in part because your preferences don’t actually form until they’re elicited by having to deal with a real-world tradeoff.

      So now my answer is: put a detailed case before me and we’ll see.

  40. RE: Ms. Aurora’s claims

    First off I would say that it’s perfectly fair to say that the listed criteria are necessary but not sufficient to inspire a corrective response. I would even go further to say that any reasonable person should assume that a list of this kind is of the necessary-but-not-sufficient variety.

    In this specific case you’re better able to verify the veracity of the stated claims than I am, and you stated at least some measure of willingness to do so.

    So call it a semantic quibble, but I would say that article _does_ meet the stated criteria, and you _are_ educating yourself about this topic.

    The beauty of a crisp factual write-up is that the credibility of the author becomes less important. As implied, regardless of how one feels about Ms. Aurora’s trustworthiness that essay contains a sufficient amount of attributed statements for a person to independently verify the central claim.

    • >that essay contains a sufficient amount of attributed statements for a person to independently verify the central claim.

      I’m not sure that’s true. It depends on what one thinks the “central claim” is.

  41. I don’t think there’s a ton of direct and overt sexism, etc., in the open source community. I do think we generally show at least solid echoes of broader societal issues. I present ambiguously as to gender, and I do notice people who read me as female treating me worse in *lots* of technical contexts.

    I think, mostly, this piece feels to me like, on the one hand, it’s a pretty reasonable standard for what it’s a standard for… But I don’t think that “the standards I need to be persuaded by in order to come down on people like the wrath of one or more deities” is an *important* standard, because for the most part, that’s not really a useful thing. (If nothing else, it’s almost certainly not an effective way to persuade people to change *their* behavior, so it’s not clear why we’d want you to do it.)

    That said, there’s a fun little experiment you can do sometime when bored: Find similar technical forums, and ask similar or identical questions on them using obviously-male or obviously-female names, and see whether people treat you the same way. My experience has been that there’s quite noticeable differences in how people relate to someone they’ve never met before given no cues but a gendered name. I don’t think this is a good thing at all, but it appears to be the case.

    A thing I find fascinating is that if I’m around tumblrites, most of the time “SJW” is used fairly narrowly to refer to people who are behaving egregiously, using a thin veneer of social-justice ligo to cover their behaviors, but that when I get into other communities, I often start seeing it used to refer to people who say things like “maybe you shouldn’t go out of your way to specifically remind people that you think their romantic entanglements with other consenting adults are disgusting”.

    • >But I don’t think that “the standards I need to be persuaded by in order to come down on people like the wrath of one or more deities” is an *important* standard, because for the most part, that’s not really a useful thing. (If nothing else, it’s almost certainly not an effective way to persuade people to change *their* behavior, so it’s not clear why we’d want you to do it.)

      If it is actually effective at changing behavior it is immediately obvious why my community wants someone (contingently but not necessarily me) to do it. If it’s not actually effective but people believe it to be effective, people will still want someone to do it.

      As to whether it’s effective, if one of the things you desire is to have high status in a tribe, I think having an elder roar “Don’t do that shit!” at you can be a pretty heavy thing. And indeed there are known instances in which “ESR” speaking ex cathedra shut down some pretty serious misbehavior; one was the DoS attack on SCO back in 2003.

  42. @ESR,
    You set a reasonably high standard for cases of harassment that you will act on, but between “clear harassment” and “clearly fabricated allegation” there is a gulf of interpersonal conflict that can affect communities.

    I curious what your thoughts are on this matter. I think we also need to talk about how we can resolve such conflicts productively and without resorting to the language of victim/perpetrator. To this end, I like Dr. Crista Lopes’ notion of “Sexual Conflict”[0]. That is, the fact that there is a perceived injustice is itself a problem and should be addressed without necessarily assigning blame to any party.

    [0] http://tagide.com/blog/academia/sexual-conflict/

    • >That is, the fact that there is a perceived injustice is itself a problem and should be addressed without necessarily assigning blame to any party.

      Not interested. This kind of talk is a license for competitive grievance-mongering and political carpetbagging. One of my concerns is to prevent that.

  43. @lliamander That is, the fact that there is a perceived injustice is itself a problem and should be addressed without necessarily assigning blame to any party.

    Isn’t this just another variant of kafkatrapping? “The evidence of the problem is that we say there is a problem.”

    • >Isn’t this just another variant of kafkatrapping? “The evidence of the problem is that we say there is a problem.”

      To make it all the way to indisputable kafkatrap it needs to mutate slightly: “Your denial that there is a problem is evidence of the problem.”

  44. I think lliamander’s reference to Crista Lopes has an interesting idea in principle, of extending the notion of “conflict of interest” and related ways of handling it to the sexual arena so as to be able to politely and calmly discuss behavior that starts to edge out of good conduct. One probably shouldn’t propose certain kinds of technically legitimate business deals which look awfully similar to financial bribes with deniability (whether offering or soliciting), and one likewise probably shouldn’t extend certain kinds of technically legitimate sexual invitations that look awfully similar to sexual bribes with deniability.

    But this particular proposal’s execution is absolutely atrocious, and I have to read it very charitably and guess what the author meant to find it reasonable, when what’s written is sloppy, prejudicial, stupid, and riddled with unfortunate implications. Consider this:

    “One may now argue that this leaves a large portion of the population vulnerable to false accusations of sexual conflict, just because people have all sorts of different perceptions in inter-personal situations. True. But the odds are heavily in favor of the truth; it happens, but it’s very rare that victims of unwelcomed sexual advances, harassment or assault make those stories up entirely.

    Emphasis mine. Yes, I should indeed think it is rare that victims make their stories up entirely. In fact I believe it’s a core element of the very definition of a victim that they aren’t entirely making it up. If someone makes up an allegation, surely they’re a *perpetrator*. I imagine the author meant to write something more along the lines of an assertion that it’s rare that *reports* are made up entirely, but that’s not what’s written.

    Or this:

    “The main problem with the current situation is that a sexual harassment accusation is too high of a bar for most people to claim, and can have tremendous consequences both for the accuser and the accused. As a consequence, the victims of unwelcomed sexual attention are reluctant to report those situations, and prefer to dismiss them and simply avoid the perpetrator (“creep!”) in the future. From an institutional perspective, this is bad, because the person who made the unwelcomed sexual advances once is likely to do it over and over again to other people, in varying degrees of offensive behavior, until one day the whole thing explodes (and that’s the happy ending!).

    Again, emphasis mine.
    A trivial objection: No, the happy ending is that the person who made the unwelcomed sexual advances makes *welcomed* sexual advances to someone else and becomes happily married and sexually satisfied and feels no need to make further sexual advances.
    A more serious underlying objection: There is no general way of knowing ahead of time if a sexual advance is unwelcome (that’s part of what many sexual advances are for: determining if interest is mutual), and a general ban on sexual advances fails the laugh test. Thus you need to be a lot more specific than – or say something rather different from – ‘unwelcome sexual advances’ when raising the banner of Something Must Be Done. Again we’re in territory where I can loosely intuit from context that the author seems to mean something more reasonable, but it’s not what’s written.

  45. I only accept demands as to proper evidence of discrimination from people who have successfully addressed discrimination in the past and supported those who have faced it. Please link me to the mailing list threads where you have supported underrepresented developers.

    • >I only accept demands as to proper evidence of discrimination from […]

      I only had to read that far to know that you are nobody I want to deal with or believe I owe any explanations to. Come back, if you come back, when you’ve gotten over yourself and learned some epistemic humility.

  46. @Beth:

    Reading comprehension fail. esr doesn’t demand anything from you, unless you come to him for help. So if you don’t think he can help, don’t bother.

  47. @Erik Yes, I should indeed think it is rare that victims make their stories up entirely.

    I saw a report (can’t find it now) that as many as ~2/3 of rape accusations are false across the US. Having had some personal experience with such it’s not hard to believe. Granted, many of those are not “made up entirely” but fall in the various categories of regret-rape or you-pissed-me-off-so-I’m-gonna-get-you-rape.

    , and a general ban on sexual advances fails the laugh test.

    That seems to be where college campuses are headed. But then much of what happens at institutions of “higher learning” no longer fails the laugh test.

  48. Anyone who has raised a pet from infancy is familiar with an innate behavior they exhibit with other litter mates, namely mock aggression. Evolution has equipped them with this because it “works” in the sense that it aids in their develop of ancient survival skills. This behavior often extends to their interaction with humans who later bond with them.

    A similar behavior set is found in human children and is typically referred to as schoolyard roughhousing. It even exists in later development, e.g. “busting chops” among sports teammates and military recruits.

    Evolution doesn’t know that we now live in a world in which real hardship is nearly non-existent and these ancient innate behaviors may eventually become obsolete.

    More to the point, do we really want to excise this behavior from our innate heritage? Are we absolutely sure that we will never again need warrior spirit or martial skill in the future?

    As for me, I do not aspire to be an adept whiner seeking the approbation of the herd.

  49. > that’s part of what many sexual advances are for: determining if interest is mutual … a general ban on sexual advances fails the laugh test.

    Would it? I mean, depending on what you mean by “general”, I suppose. But would it kill people, really, to keep it to the singles bars and other normal contexts for that sort of thing? Or use something like Tinder?

    • >I suppose. But would it kill people, really, to keep it to the singles bars and other normal contexts for that sort of thing?

      Er, what planet are you from again? There isn’t any human social activity involving mixed adults that doesn’t have elements of mating dance and sexual display to it. The only way this could be different is if human reproductive biology were different – say, if our females had a fixed estrus cycle. Then we’d have different mating strategies and different instinctive behaviors. As it is, we’re biologically locked into a pattern where males always want to fuck pulchritude and females always want to fuck high status and all our social behaviors are designed on some level to (you should pardon the expression) lubricate that market.

      Protesting that it shouldn’t be like that is a lot like protesting that water shouldn’t run downhill. If you can exert enough social pressure you can make people feel bad about what horny primates they are, but since the underlying biology is constant the effect never lasts – they go right back to sexual signaling at each other the moment they’re not putting conscious effort into not doing that.

      You can consider this a tragedy or a comedy. Either way it’s a central fact about humans.

  50. I think one of the primary obligations of being a good person is achieving the strength and discipline to interpose our mindful self between those biological imperatives and our expressed behavior. That applies to all the basics, eat, fight, flight or fuck. In fact, in the martial arts we begin by learning discipline over the most basic imperative of all, the breath.

    So if I find myself interacting with an attractive person in a professional context, it’s my job to put that response aside and present a purely professional face. That means strictly neutral body language, and conversation limited to the same set of office topics I discuss with everyone else. Honestly, it’s a pretty low bar.

    We discussed technical conferences earlier on, and they expose a grey area where the context can shift from the purely professional to the purely social. So it is obviously true that a sufficiently large conference will surely have more than one pair of strangers who will happily hook up. However, if I think about the experience of an attractive woman at such an event, surrounded by males, I imagine that even appropriate expressions of interest would rapidly become tiresome and unpleasant, particularly during working hours. Selfishly speaking, sex with strangers carries other risks, and given that another conference participant has the power to impact one’s professional standing, I don’t see that risk being worth the reward. Therefore, I think good behavior at such things is to err on the side of extreme caution and maintain a strictly professional (not to be confused with formal!) attitude.

    Not everyone will agree with that standard, although I do think it meets the bar of universally applicable good judgement. However, I suspect we would all agree that any kind of work related context changes the mating game dramatically. So for example, while initiating casual touching might be okay at a singles bar, in a work related context, absent a plain language invite, its a very bad idea no matter how a person has read the mating dance signals.

  51. As it is, we’re biologically locked into a pattern where males always want to fuck pulchritude and females always want to fuck high status

    I feel like this should be obvious, but I don’t actually see a straightforward chain of reasoning to prove it: how does one get from this biologically-selected preference to the social convention that it must be the man asking out / proposing marriage to / otherwise pursuing the woman? If a woman is interested in a man, we have all these semi-ritual games where she drops hints or gets her friends to manipulate the man’s behaviour. I can’t really think of a parallel where men are expected to indirectly orchestrate things so that the woman takes action without prompting; they’re instead expected to achieve that end by putting the question to her directly.

    The upshot of this is that these “unwanted sexual advances” are a gender issue, and not merely a general etiquette subject, largely because they are male-to-female much more commonly than the reverse.

    • >how does one get from this biologically-selected preference to the social convention that it must be the man asking out / proposing marriage to / otherwise pursuing the woman?

      It’s bioenergetics. Female reproductive capacity is scarcer than male reproductive capacity (limited fertile periods, etc). Male pursuit follows from the resulting demand curves.

  52. > the moment they’re not putting conscious effort into not doing that.

    But why is it so unreasonable to ask for contexts to exist where such an effort is required of everyone?

    • >But why is it so unreasonable to ask for contexts to exist where such an effort is required of everyone?

      It’s perfectly reasonable to ask. What you can’t expect is for humans to reliably execute on that request even if they think they ought to. Even intelligent humans with low time preference, like your peer group, aren’t very good at this. In a population that’s not as good at deferring gratification… well, let’s just say purdah is not a crazy custom.

  53. @ Sean C.

    You’re responding as an individual and have every right to conduct yourself according to that code of behavior. You may even wish to serve as a role model for others, and your success will likely be influenced by the degree to which others value your judgement and seek to follow your lead.

    The problem occurs when some individual (or group of like-minded individuals) acquires a significant amount of power and then attempts to impose their will on others via coercion or force (think government at it’s worst). Do will really need to police every technical conference in order to assure an arbitrary standard of civility and decorum? Or would we be better off holding individuals to account for their individual behavior in the instant case? In my youth, bad behavior got you a slap in the face (and sometimes it was worth it).

  54. > Would it? I mean, depending on what you mean by “general”, I suppose. But would it kill people, really, to keep it to the singles bars and other normal contexts for that sort of thing? Or use something like Tinder?

    In addition to the above responses, I note that you can still get unwanted sexual advances on Tinder.

  55. @TomA, yes, you’re right, whether bad outcomes are best managed by restricting freedoms or by imposing consequences is a very difficult question. I find that many people approach it with a bias one way or another (personally, as a liberal I tend to be rather more in favor of policies and guidelines for this kind of thing), and it’s such a thorny topic I can’t say that either bias is wrong. I will say that when I discuss these things with responsible individuals we often start with differing biases, and then come to agreement about specific tactics.

    We agree that in a perfect world such things wouldn’t be necessary, but as ESR points out due to our crappy primate biology, we don’t live in that world. From time to time, all of us fail to exercise a healthy level of discipline over our unwise impulses, and some of us fail to do so regularly.

    Most generally, I employ a heuristic I call “Three sigma stupid”, but nowadays might be more succinctly described as “This is why we can’t have nice things.” The idea is related to the Tragedy of the Commons. For any shared privilege where people’s abuse of said privilege impacts others, there is a trade off between the benefit accrued to the responsible actors vs. the suffering imposed by the idiots. If the suffering is great enough compared to the benefit, then we’re all better off without said privilege.

    So, for example, driving. The butchers bill for using cars is staggering, but they’re so damn useful we’re better off to put up with the carnage. On the other hand, the benefit of biological weapons is so small compared to the potential harm that no one is really crying out for the repeal of restrictions on weaponized anthrax spores!

    In the case of technical conferences, first off it’s important to note that any kind of professional context restricts peoples freedom somewhat, insofar as choosing not to participate in a conference imposes a larger penalty on someone than choosing to go to a different singles bar. And more concretely, given the longer term professional contacts, turning down a romantic overture at a conference also carries some amount of longer term penalty than rejecting a creep at a bar. Particularly if that overture comes from someone in a place of power in said community.

    Furthermore, since the gender balance at a technical conference is so skewed, placing the burden of behavior correction on the individuals mean that the women have to shoulder much of that load, which is hardly fair, and presented evidence suggests rises to such a level as to cause people to limit their contribution in order to avoid the unpleasantness. In fact, at one conference I attended a female colleague invited me out to a solo dinner, and as a married man away from home, I felt a bit uncomfortable about it and politely declined. If I was a single female and had to do that once or twice a day, well, that would really suck. And that’s the mildest possible form of such things. If I had to slap people across the face on a regular basis I would rise up in protest. As people have.

    So in the end, I don’t think the requested restrictions; written codes of conduct, plain speaking about acceptable behaviors that help everyone participate in comfort, restriction of sexualized content in presentations, etc. is too much to ask.

    • >Furthermore, since the gender balance at a technical conference is so skewed, placing the burden of behavior correction on the individuals mean that the women have to shoulder much of that load, which is hardly fair

      But that’s going to happen anyway, for as long as we’re locked into a males-pursue/females-select game. Bioenergetics again. The whole system is “unfair”, but so are lots of things men have to put up with, like being stuck with almost all the jobs that are dirty and dangerous.

  56. > It’s perfectly reasonable to ask. What you can’t expect is for humans to reliably execute on that request even if they think they ought to.

    Okay, let me be perfectly clear. Why is it wrong to demand that the community attempt to correct people who fail to do so and ostracize people who willfully refuse to make an effort? All this was implied in my intended meaning of “required”.

    • >Okay, let me be perfectly clear. Why is it wrong to demand that the community attempt to correct people who fail to do so and ostracize people who willfully refuse to make an effort?

      Who are you arguing against? I don’t think anyone has taken this position. In fact, the direct opposite is implied by my OP.

  57. Why is it wrong to demand that the community attempt…

    It seems to me that ESR is laying out the standards of “proof” neccessary to demand that members of his community should provide before he, as a member of that community, will “correct” people. You can’t demand that “communities” do anything social. You can demand that members do.

  58. Followup: A community is a container (like any other group of people). The sloppy anthropomorphism of attributing agency to groups of people as though the group is an individual is a persistent logical error.

  59. >>That is, the fact that there is a perceived injustice is itself a problem and should be addressed without necessarily assigning blame to any party.

    >Not interested. This kind of talk is a license for competitive grievance-mongering and political carpetbagging. One of my concerns is to prevent that.

    Perhaps there is risk of that, and I would certainly not want to encourage that form of opportunism. I’m assuming that much of what people perceive to be harassment is just misunderstandings (or just conflicting personalities or values) rather than actual harassment, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still problems that could hurt the community.

    I would think a good goal would be to avoid even the appearance of harassment (such as what Pieter Hintjens talks about [0]). Part of that is setting a high bar for “prosecuting” harassment, which you do, but the other part is designing social spaces and norms to help minimize misunderstandings.

    > Isn’t this just another variant of kafkatrapping? “The evidence of the problem is that we say there is a problem.”

    No. I’m not saying that the accusation is proof of the crime. Rather, that the existence of the accusation is proof that there is some sort of conflict, and that unless the tribal elders take care there could be consequences in the community. It could be that the accuser is themselves a bad actor, or it could be that the accuser and accused have different norms regarding what constitutes a polite and civil interaction. Ideally the principal actors involved would have enough social acumen to resolve the conflict between themselves (or at least keep it from hurting the community at large) but that’s not always guaranteed.

    >I think lliamander’s reference to Crista Lopes has an interesting idea in principle, of extending the notion of “conflict of interest” and related ways of handling it to the sexual arena so as to be able to politely and calmly discuss behavior that starts to edge out of good conduct…But this particular proposal’s execution is absolutely atrocious, and I have to read it very charitably and guess what the author meant to find it reasonable, when what’s written is sloppy, prejudicial, stupid, and riddled with unfortunate implications.

    I actually had a similar assessment (though perhaps not as critical). I think my negative reaction stemmed in part because I think she belongs to my “outgroup” but the core of her idea was reasonable and interesting enough that I thought it worth referencing.

  60. > Furthermore, since the gender balance at a technical conference is so skewed, placing the burden of behavior correction on the individuals mean that the women have to shoulder much of that load, which is hardly fair, and presented evidence suggests rises to such a level as to cause people to limit their contribution in order to avoid the unpleasantness.

    Perspective is an interesting thing. On the one hand, I understand and agree with your point about the burden women in technical conferences may have to deal with. On the other hand, many of the men at such conferences are probably deathly afraid of simply being perceived as having expressed improper sexual advances towards the few women that are there (whether they were actually making advances or not).

    I think traditional sexual mores are useful for minimizing the burden on both sexes. Also, I think that sex-segregated environments are useful escape for both sexes from what ESR refers to as “bioenergetics” – one that has been increasingly outlawed.

  61. @ Sean C.

    You seem to care about this problem (dishonorable treatment of women in male-dominated work settings), but your focus is on fixing the “men” as a class no matter how small the fraction of bad actors may be. If you flip the coin, this is the equivalent of trying to fix “women” as a class because a few occasionally act like bitches. Where does this social engineering process end?

    The only reason we have this hypersensitivity to petty problems is because we do not face real hardship in our daily lives anymore. Our survival skill set is no longer focused on superior defensive prowess against existential threats or intelligence-driven food acquisition, but in it’s place we are now evolving toward becoming skilled manipulators of other humans. Is this really where you want to take us as a species?

  62. @Sean C
    > So if I find myself interacting with an attractive person in a professional context, it’s my job to put that response aside and present a purely professional face. That means strictly neutral body language, and conversation limited to the same set of office topics I discuss with everyone else. Honestly, it’s a pretty low bar.

    This is actually a very high bar. Certainly when you have unattached young men and women in that professional context. Strictly neutral body language is unlikely; there are involuntary responses to seeing an attractive person (no, I don’t mean THAT one… dilation of pupils, increase in heart rate, sweat, changes in respiration) that will tip the other party off. None of the companies I’ve worked for — and this includes stodgy old IBM — have attempted to enforce such an unrealistic standard, and it’s probably undesirable to do so considering how many couples I know who met at work.

    You do spend a lot of time at work, if you’ve got a traditional job. Do you really think it is a good idea to spend a lot of time with people you are attracted to, who you reasonably think are attracted to you, and never even make a move because of some idea of political propriety? The rule of not dipping your quill into the office ink is “more honored in the breech than the observance”.

  63. esr:

    My senior apprentice is female.

    You mean Susan “HedgeMage” Sons? She hasn’t touched her Google+ page in weeks (I’d even say a couple of months), so I’ve been wanting to ask you: is she alright?

    • >is she alright?

      She’s fine, just frantically busy. We’re planning to spend four hours scoping out a new project on Friday.

  64. > It seems to me that ESR is laying out the standards of “proof” neccessary to demand that members of his community should provide before he, as a member of that community, will “correct” people. You can’t demand that “communities” do anything social. You can demand that members do.

    My problem isn’t with the standard of proof, it’s with the standard of offense. That “unwanted sexual advances” just aren’t enough of a problem (not in number but in severity) to be worth correcting even if you see it in front of you. That may not actually be ESR’s position, or Erik’s, but they’ve both damn well fooled me if it’s not, with all this stuff about human nature and inevitability and boys will be boys so why even bother with being more than animals?

    • >That “unwanted sexual advances” just aren’t enough of a problem (not in number but in severity) to be worth correcting even if you see it in front of you.

      Not my position. Probably not Erik’s. Want to try again?

  65. My position:

    One, “unwanted sexual advances” are fundamentally not a correctable problem. I don’t mean in the sense that you cannot drive the rate all the way to zero, but in the sense that you cannot drive the rate below the billions. Again:

    >There is no general way of knowing ahead of time if a sexual advance is unwelcome (that’s part of what many sexual advances are for: determining if interest is mutual), and a general ban on sexual advances fails the laugh test. Thus you need to be a lot more specific than – or say something rather different from – ‘unwelcome sexual advances’ when raising the banner of Something Must Be Done.

    For humans to reproduce, this mostly not being either Brave New World or a caricatured cavemanry where men drag women off by the hair and have their way with them, sexual advances must be made. Short of some other ludicrous proposal like requiring people to maintain a public list of what sexual advances they will welcome, many sexual advances will be unwelcome as a necessary component of both training and discovery. “No making unwelcome sexual advances” is as ludicrous as “No writing buggy code”, and unwelcome sexual advances should be treated about the same way as buggy code: polite “You should change this”, not making a scene about how it’s a major moral failing and Something Must Be Done.

    Two, most of the proposals consistently reek. It’s not that they’re cures worse than the disease (the actual diseases like sexual harassment at work, not the omnipresent fake target of ‘unwanted sexual advances’); it’s that they don’t look like cures at all. They look like someone first wrote down their conclusion of “give more power of micromanagement and extrajudicial punishment over people’s lives to a star chamber of my design” and then reached out to the Rationalization Committee for an excuse.

    Here’s my constructive counter-proposal if you want one of those:

    Bring back chaperones – or modern technological equivalents such as lifeloggers. And institute a social expectation that requesting privacy outside of one’s own home (or bathroom, or other reasonable exceptions which I’m sure some nitpicker can come up with ten of) is a flirting signal.

  66. @Erik “Here’s my constructive counter-proposal”

    And here’s mine: a discreet but unmistakable visual cue that unambiguously indicates “unabailable for any sexual advance.”

    For the first few of my (nearly) 25 years of marriage I wore a plain gold wedding band on the ring finger of my left hand. I never got used to it and eventually stopped wearing it because I was less afraid of having to politely deflect a sexual advance than I was afraid of shorting out telecom-grade kiloampere DC power busses. But I still know where that wedding band is, and would wear it again at professional conferences if being hit on ever became an annoyance.

    (For the record, it will be a full 25 years on 14 June 2017.)

  67. I think it’s interesting that the one instance I’ve heard of was at a company (not FOSS) where a woman, even though she was a good programmer, was not given the interesting projects because she did not signal she belonged to the geek group. My friend, a woman, who told me the story told me she was accepted by the guys because she was a roleplayer, gamer, into sci-fi, comics, etc. The other woman was a former cheerleader and was very attractive.

    This is not in FOSS community but I think it’s interesting that there may not be gender bias but there could be bias against people who do not present themselves as standards geeks. Of course, nobody asks if you’re into sci-fi when you give them a patch or a merge request, so I doubt this actually effects the FOSS community. I just wanted to point out there are other types of bias against categories of humans other than gender, race, etc.

  68. esr:

    She’s fine, just frantically busy.

    That’s a relief. Thanks.

    We’re planning to spend four hours scoping out a new project on Friday.

    I wish you success.

  69. I think there is a difference between discrimination of FOSS contributers, which seems to me the subject of the OP, and unruly behavior at conferences. The latter has little to do with FOSS and everything with social norms among young males.

    I can see ways how eric could influence the working of online communities. But I have difficulty seeing how he could change the behavior of men at a conference he is not present nor otherwise involved in.

    Conferences are simply a different matter altogether where different problems should be handled in different ways than discrimination at FOSS fora and projects.

  70. There’s an xkcd[1] with the caption “Human subcultures are nested fractally”, and I think it’s more true than not.

    A tree representing the nesting of subcultures (nodes) within tech-culture (root) could be no more detailed than the individual (leaf). Now consider which node E is the subculture of which Eric is a tribal elder. Especially at a conference with a broad[2] appeal, you’re going to have a lot of people, especially those who aren’t descendants of E themselves, who aren’t able to discriminate between somebody who is a descendant of E (hackers? FOSS enthusiasts? is RMS a descendant thereof?) and somebody who isn’t. So I’d suspect that a non-negligible fraction of complaints of institutionalised discrimination are made in good faith, but nonetheless erroneous. The complainants simply see the elder (it need not be Eric, but he works for the example) as failing to condemn blameworthy behaviour in his own community, when he is in fact taking no action because he perceives the offender as being outside E.

    1. #1095
    2. I.e. you have to get close to the root node to find one that includes most attendees

    • >a descendant of E (hackers? FOSS enthusiasts? is RMS a descendant thereof?)

      I would say RMS and I are elders of the same culture. In addition, he has a fractally nested subculture of his own to which my relationship is … complicated.

      Confirming your analysis, at any given tech conference I think there are likely to be some people who consider me a tribal elder, but the percentage is wildly variable.

  71. One thing I notice above is what looks like people taking past each other and not noticing they’re not talking about the same thing.

    “Unwanted sexual advances”.

    One person means “any advance that turns out to be unwanted, even if that was unpredictable”.

    The other seems to mean “advances any sensible person might have known were unwanted, or were explicitly unwanted”.

    The two are using the same term, not entirely unreasonably, for things most of us would consider, socially and probably morally very different.

    (It is harmless and normal to make a moderate sexual advance and be turned down; the polite response is to be nice about it, perhaps apologize for the wasted time or bother, and then move on and not repeat it until such time as markedly changed circumstance gives reason to believe the advance would be welcome.

    It is not polite or reasonable to make advances towards someone you know or think is not interested in them.)

    • >One person means “any advance that turns out to be unwanted, even if that was unpredictable”.

      >The other seems to mean “advances any sensible person might have known were unwanted, or were explicitly unwanted”.

      There’s a third meaning covertly in play, as well. A lot of feminist talk about “harassment” and “creeps” seems to reduce to “Low-status males should know to fuck off and die without me having to bother telling them, even if I am ugly and have the personality of a cheese grater, because empowerment.”

  72. Hey! Why you dissin’ cheese graters? They’re good and useful to have around. Don’t you know it’s impossible to make pizza without a cheese grater being involved?

  73. > One, “unwanted sexual advances” are fundamentally not a correctable problem. I don’t mean in the sense that you cannot drive the rate all the way to zero, but in the sense that you cannot drive the rate below the billions.

    You can drive the rate to zero locally quite obviously by driving the rate of all sexual advances to zero by creating spaces in which sexual advances are categorically forbidden. I can see no argument that the ‘cost’ of such spaces (measured in, perhaps, ‘missed connections’ that aren’t merely displaced elsewhere) outweighs the benefits.

  74. @esr “because empowerment”

    From http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2129456/Do-girls-want-career-attract-man-Provocative-study-casts-high-fliers-new-light.html :

    “A controversial study has concluded that the real reason women pursue careers is because they fear they are too unattractive to get married.”

    “And the plainer a woman [thinks she] is, they claim, the more she is driven to succeed in the workplace.”

    Imagine yourself a single woman working for a living, with very low self esteem based (in no small part) on a self assessment of unattractiveness. Not a natural introvert–but excluded from the upper social tiers in middle school, high school and college–you’ve joined geeky subcultures like gaming and computing just to have some sustained contact with other humans. You’ve leveraged your exposure to computers into a technical career, but still cling to hope your (Cinderella) self-assessment will be falsified by a sexual advance from a high status man (Prince Charming) in your workplace.

    But then you get a sexual advance from a low status male. If a loser like that can scrape the courage together for the approach, he has to believe you’re in his “league”. So in addition to dashed hopes for an advance from a high status male, the low status male also confirms your long standing fear of your own unattractiveness.

    Pity the poor low status male that really does trigger such a cascade of pain and anguish!

    So O Tribal Elder: what social norms exist (or should be advocated for) to defuse these very painful and traumatizing, yet objectively/morally no-one’s-fault experiences?

    • >So O Tribal Elder: what social norms exist (or should be advocated for) to defuse these very painful and traumatizing, yet objectively/morally no-one’s-fault experiences?

      I haven’t imagined any solutions that don’t seem to impose unacceptable costs on the liberty of one sex, or the other, or both.

  75. > It is harmless and normal to make a moderate sexual advance and be turned down

    The entire point is that for doing so in a space that’s supposed to be professional, it is not harmless, and so far as it it is normal that is a bug rather than a feature.

  76. > Confirming your analysis, at any given tech conference I think there are likely to be some people who consider me a tribal elder, but the percentage is wildly variable.

    The other half of his analysis seems to be that your ego is too fragile to withstand condemning someone only to find that they don’t care what you think of them.

    • >The other half of his analysis seems to be that your ego is too fragile to withstand condemning someone only to find that they don’t care what you think of them.

      ROFL!

      “He don’t know me vewy well, do he?”

  77. > Pity the poor low status male that really does trigger such a cascade of pain and anguish!

    This is discussed in detail here.

  78. > The other half of his analysis seems to be that your ego is too fragile to withstand condemning someone only to find that they don’t care what you think of them.

    Go back to the original post and read the fifth “filter” again.

  79. I’d like to know what you guys think of lipstick feminism.

    (Older versions of the article – such as this one – include this interesting sentence: “Some lipstick feminists however associate sex with power and the power of sexual attraction as power over men.”)

  80. @d5xtgr the scenario the original post is talking about (i.e. someone coming to him with unsolicited complaints about something happening elsewhere) is distinct from the scenario you set up regarding ESR’s (or some other hypothetical leader’s) willingness to comment on specific incidents happening at e.g. a conference (it seemed you were implying a conference he is also attending, and talking about his willingness to react to things that happen in front of him. I may have been mistaken.)

    • >(it seemed you were implying a conference he is also attending, and talking about his willingness to react to things that happen in front of him. I may have been mistaken.)

      That’s not a scenario I think about a lot. I mean, I can imagine circumstances in which I ask a woman “Do you require assistance?” and wind up dressing down some would-be Lothario or even punching him into next week, but they frankly seem very unlikely to me for lots of reasons, one of which is that I don’t go to conferences much.

      No, the scenario I think I’m most likely to have to deal with (though it hasn’t happened yet) is dysfunctional behavior in the normal communications channels of projects (email, IRC, fora).

  81. God help us if some catastrophe should cause a return to real hardship on this planet.

    All of the commenters here that are honing their skill at hand-wringing over hurt feelings are unlikely to last a week. Whining for pity sake is truly anti-evolutionary, and trading your ball sack for a safe space should be humiliating to you.

  82. “A controversial study has concluded that the real reason women pursue careers is because they fear they are too unattractive to get married.”

    Wahahahahaha! Why do you think men pursue high-status careers?

  83. @Jeff
    ” Why do you think men pursue high-status careers?”

    Why do you think there is such a thing as “status”, and why it is sought?

    Reading the books of Frans de Waal, especially the early ones, is enlightening.

  84. > All of the commenters here that are honing their skill at hand-wringing over hurt feelings are unlikely to last a week. Whining for pity sake is truly anti-evolutionary, and trading your ball sack for a safe space should be humiliating to you.

    On the other hand, whining in the key of pity for the attention of Power with the intent to direct its wrath on your enemies is very much pro-evolutionary, and I think this is also a justifiable reading of a lot of the professional hand-wringers. It’s akin to a false flag incident, where “shooting your own side is a terrible idea” would be naive analysis.

  85. > No, the scenario I think I’m most likely to have to deal with (though it hasn’t happened yet) is dysfunctional behavior in the normal communications channels of projects (email, IRC, fora).

    Incidentally, two of those provide a private messaging system with no mechanism for generating evidence that a message is real. Which enables both harassment and false accusations, and creates an enormous problem for your third point (unless you define people sending harassing private messages to people they found on open-source project mailing lists and IRC channels as not being part of the problem at all)

    ‘Commodity’ sites like Twitter have a different problem – while the content of private messages is knowable to Twitter itself, they are unlikely to involve the community in correcting someone’s behavior, apply community-specific standards, or do anything at all before the line has been crossed at which someone’s account will be terminated.

  86. Actually, I’ll pivot that back to your criteria. How would you deal with the potential failure state of someone hanging out in IRC or on a mailing list and sending private messages to visibly-female newcomers (either sexually harassing or discouraging them from contributing), and driving them away? They can’t show you their code, they’re newcomers. They can’t provide evidence; email* and IRC don’t generate evidence that can be distinguished from a forgery, and even “pattern of reports” fails in the presence of a narrative (true or not) of organized false flags.

    *No-one uses PGP, and even people who do can turn it off. Reporting someone’s misbehavior to their email provider runs into the same issue as described above for Twitter.

    • >Actually, I’ll pivot that back to your criteria. How would you deal with the potential failure state of someone hanging out in IRC or on a mailing list and sending private messages to visibly-female newcomers (either sexually harassing or discouraging them from contributing), and driving them away? They can’t show you their code, they’re newcomers. They can’t provide evidence; email* and IRC don’t generate evidence that can be distinguished from a forgery, and even “pattern of reports” fails in the presence of a narrative (true or not) of organized false flags.

      Given this situation, what I would inevitably do is fail. Some problems don’t have solutions, and it does no good to pretend or expect that they do.

      Fortunately the more plausible scenarios are less dire. One reason is that in cultures where such harassment is common it is usually a social, performative act. The bully wants to be seen doing it and getting away with it; that’s the point, it’s a status assertion.

  87. I think the root cause of the issue may be that the commercialization of the internet has destroyed the system where system administrators took responsibility for policing their users’ actions. Any such role in a corporate-run system belongs to a faceless drone with little discretionary power to act as a decent human being and policies that are mainly designed to protect the company from liability first and maintain their relationships with their own customers second. The email and IRC protocols were designed for this era rather than the present one, though at least the IRC servers open-source projects use tend to be run by non-profits.

  88. @d5xtgr the scenario the original post is talking about (i.e. someone coming to him with unsolicited complaints about something happening elsewhere) is distinct from the scenario you set up regarding ESR’s (or some other hypothetical leader’s) willingness to comment on specific incidents happening at e.g. a conference (it seemed you were implying a conference he is also attending, and talking about his willingness to react to things that happen in front of him. I may have been mistaken.)

    Okay, fair enough. The conversation had moved to conference behaviour, so that’s where I set the scenario, but the storyline goes like this:
    1. Guy in a tech space (conference, project IRC, whatever) is sexist to a woman and acts in a way that, but for filter five, would earn a rebuke from hackerdom’s tribal elders.
    2. She considers him a hacker and complains publicly. She’s somewhere on the tree of tech-culture, but far enough away from the hacker culture represented by node E that she sees no distinction from the offender’s fractally nested subculture.
    3. Tribal elders take no action on the complaint because they don’t consider the offender’s subculture to be a descendant of node E; thus he fails filter five.
    4. From complainant’s perspective, a member of the hacker culture acted inappropriately, and even after the event was made public, nobody within the culture called him on it. The hacker culture is thus institutionally sexist since its tribal elders tolerate acts of overt sexism. Moreover, any attempts to disclaim the offender from hacker culture by arguing that hacker values prohibit sexism or care only about coding ability look like no-true-Scotsmanning.

    To justify point two: one of the annoying things about the nested-subcultures is that we really can only distinguish the node at which someone splits off from our subtree, and not place them on the tree in more detail than that, unless we’ve specifically studied another branch of the tree. So xkcd’s speaker doesn’t identify subcultures of the professional crazy-straw designers even though he can reliably sort them from the amateurs and distinguish between the various amateur subcultures. Similarly, American football fans can tell rugby apart from football, but wouldn’t generally know rugby league from rugby union.

  89. Random: I don’t think the idea that coworkers must never be attracted to one another or mention it “because professional” is going to work. (The preceding being of course my take on your statement above, hopefully accurately enough.)

    For one thing, it simply is not the norm anywhere I’ve ever seen, let alone generally.

    For another, the harm model for the aforementioned no-reason-to-believe-unwanted advances* is still unclear in the general.

    (The up-thread “someone might have huge issues because a low-status person approached them” is not anyone else’s problem, just their psychological issue.)

    * Where, again, “advances” means “want to go out sometime? I find you attractive.”, no more.

  90. To those above whose solution seems to always be some variation on “Verboten!!!”, please attempt to deal with reality as it exists in this universe.

    Offhand I can think of a number of venues where romantic/sexual interactions are strictly forbidden but yet they stubbornly continue to be quite common. Just to name a few…

    – Jails/prisons (female guards on male inmates, or vice-versa)
    – School teachers diddling underage students
    – Bosses diddling subordinates
    – Pastor’s wives having affairs with deacons
    – Priests diddling choir boys
    – Soldiers sneaking girls into the barracks
    – College co-eds sneaking boys into the dorm
    – Game publishers diddling game reviewers
    … and on and on…

    Fighting biology is a fool’s errand. Reality doesn’t care about your ideology. Proposing “fixing” men as the solution is objectively stupid.

  91. @Michael

    Proposing “fixing” men as the solution is objectively stupid.

    Unless you mean that in the same way we “fix” stray cats and dogs….

    /me shudders, and protectively clutches his jewels….

  92. I’m really proud that an elder can speak so openly on such topics. I get a pit-of-the-stomach feeling when faced with both the fear and ethical duties of speaking/writing on such things.

  93. > The butchers bill for using cars is staggering,

    If you’re easily staggered, perhaps. But nobody makes you use a car; you can choose to live in places where you don’t need one.

    Whether I choose to use cars (or motorcycles, or jet skis, or snowmobiles, or ultralight aircraft, or pogo sticks) is none of your business.

  94. > driving the rate of all sexual advances to zero by creating spaces in which sexual advances are categorically forbidden

    Ri-ight. Let me know how that works out for you.

  95. I mostly agree with you, but this part bothered me:

    “…political carpetbaggers….must be actively countered and ejected from our community.”

    That sounds like excluding people based on their political views.

    • >That sounds like excluding people based on their political views.

      No, only on their attempts to impose said politics on community behavior. It doesn’t particularly matter what the content of the politics is.

  96. jonathan, you elided what he meant by that term: “people seeking social and political power that they have not earned through the merit of their work”. That’s not excluding someone based on their political views.

  97. @esr “[T]he scenario I think I’m most likely to have to deal with […] is dysfunctional behavior in the normal communications of project (email, IRC, fora).”

    That’s a very interesting scope limitation. You assume tribal eldership of people interacting primarily through electronic media, rather than in physical proximity (either short term in conferences or long term in traditional workplaces).

    Very wise. As you point out in your “show us the code” essay, anything that distracts from the primary goal of the interaction is to be ruthlessly suppressed to optimize the probability of achieving the primary goal.

    • >That’s a very interesting scope limitation. You assume tribal eldership of people interacting primarily through electronic media, rather than in physical proximity

      Well, I think it’s more like “those are the people most likely to assume me as an elder”. But, basically, yes.

  98. Declaring people’s idea of what actions are right and wrong to be mere “political views” is moral relativism, which doesn’t look good on anyone. I mean, at least have the fortitude to declare their ideas to be incorrect rather than saying “that’s just a matter of politics”.

    • >Declaring people’s idea of what actions are right and wrong to be mere “political views” is moral relativism

      I draw the distinction in a different place. If I say “It is wrong for you to do X” I am making a moral claim. If I say “It is wrong for you to do X, and government should enforce that preference”, then I am making a political one.

      It is quite consistent to both refuse to make most kinds of political claims while also not being a relativist. In fact, this is exactly the libertarian position – and, with a slightly more generous notion of permitted political claims, the classical-liberal one as well.

  99. > I draw the distinction in a different place. If I say “It is wrong for you to do X” I am making a moral claim. If I say “It is wrong for you to do X, and government should enforce that preference”, then I am making a political one.

    Okay, then who are “political carpetbaggers”? My initial reading is that this was your term for people who advocate for projects to do things like adopting “codes of conduct”, but that has nothing to do with the government and therefore isn’t on the political side of your distinction.

  100. @Random832:

    Why is it wrong to demand that the community attempt to correct people who fail to do so and ostracize people who willfully refuse to make an effort?

    So you want communities to punish people.

    Okay, then who are “political carpetbaggers”? My initial reading is that this was your term for people who advocate for projects to do things like adopting “codes of conduct”, but that has nothing to do with the government and therefore isn’t on the political side of your distinction.

    And so you don’t understand the basic definitions associated with, or ramifications of, your wishes. You should start here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics

  101. > [Erik] Where did esr go for the ad hominem? … It means a specific kind of wrongful inference of the form “Bob is wrong because he is ugly” or “Alice’s logic is incorrect because she is a fascist”. These are fallacies because they attack the arguer as a substitute for attacking the argument, which is bad reasoning.

    My original comment included a link:

    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=5069#comment-413098

    For convenience, and just in case you are technically unable to follow this link, I will quote the comment here in full:

    >> [Terry, quoted] (Jack Chick and his colleagues over at chick.com, where you can read every Chick tract ever produced for free in xkcd-like form, are among the straightest theological shooters I’ve ever seen.)

    > [Eric] Yeah, that confirms it; you’re a complete drooling nutter. No mere fact will ever be permitted to interfere with your delusions. It is pointless to argue anything with you and I will now stop.

    In the above, ESR called me insane without giving any explanation as to why commending Jack Chick’s theological accuracy constitutes insanity or evidence thereof. It fits your description of the ad hominem attack in every detail.

    > [Eric] You have a short memory, and I don’t think it’s worth my time to argue with you.

    I may have missed the argument that I’ve been asking for now and back then, and awaiting for three years, but I’m pretty certain I would not have forgotten it. As for whether it’s worth your time, I expect it would be for two reasons, one having to do with me, and one having to do with everyone else.

    1. In your view, it should not be the case that I’m so lost that I can’t be led to salvation, or whatever your equivalent is. I have presented a lot of evidence that I know debate logic and argumentation. (And I’ve also learned much in the last three years, especially from Sye Ten Bruggencate getting himself shredded in several debates by doing it badly.) If you have no equivalent to 1 Peter 3:15, perhaps it isn’t worth your time: if there is really no reason that I should be sane in your view- I just realized if it isn’t worth your time to tell me *why* I’m insane, it probably isn’t worth your time to tell me *that* I’m insane, as the insanity you’re referring to is that irrelevant.

    2. It looks like I’ve won the debate. I’m still saying things and you appear unable to respond to my arguments. I’m not mistaking unwillingness for inability in this case, but there might be someone reading this who may. If you do not respond because you are unwilling, that someone may conclude that you are unable to respond, and in their eyes, I would be the more persuasive by far. If they do not, I still appear to be more persuasive, just not as much. If you wish to contain my insanity, it would be wise for you to respond with an intelligent answer. It would also benefit your reputation as “tribal elder” as a demonstration that you can deal effectively with interference from nutters like me, lest their insanity pollute the open source community, if that’s a bad thing. (e.g. You would probably consider John Maxwell to be just as insane as I am, but if he were to show up and start commenting on this blog, you would likely have to deal with him in a much more constructive manner than you have me, especially since this insanity results in his leadership skill and he’s not afraid to talk about it with world leading corporate directors, officers, and politicians.)

    > [Eric] I draw the distinction in a different place. If I say “It is wrong for you to do X” I am making a moral claim. If I say “It is wrong for you to do X, and government should enforce that preference”, then I am making a political one.

    We agree on something!

    > [Michael] Game publishers diddling game reviewers

    Stop being Sarkeestic!

    • >In the above, ESR called me insane without giving any explanation as to why commending Jack Chick’s theological accuracy constitutes insanity

      All faith-holders are, definitionally, insane, because faith is definitionally a determination to believe despite evidence. I didn’t need to know you were a Jack Chick fan to get that far, the latter datum only told me that your faith fixation is strong enough that you invest in a particularly crude and ugly version of Christianity.

    • >Uh … dude … that’s not the definition of ‘faith’.

      b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof

      Sane people do not organize their lives, their value systems, and their identities around premises for which there is no proof. Sane people do not continue by defending those premises against contrary evidence.

  102. @esr “Sane people do not organize their lives, their value systems, and their identities around premises for which there is no proof.”

    I doubt your definition of insanity is clinically correct either. Scott Adams could prolly help you there.

    Anyway you said “believe despite evidence”, that notably different that the M-W definition of “firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust”

    There’s also this:
    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=184

    • >Anyway you said “believe despite evidence”, that notably different that the M-W definition of “firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust”

      I consider the difference a quibble. People who routinely believe without evidence easily slide over into believing despite evidence because they don’t know how to – or, in the case of faith-holders, actively refuse – to practice epistemic hygiene,

      >There’s also this:

      I am not going to utter a long rant about inductive confirmation here and now. Suffice it to say that if you think you have caught ne in a contradiction you are severely mistaken.

  103. @esr “I consider the difference a quibble. People who routinely believe without evidence easily slide over into believing despite evidence because they don’t know how to – or, in the case of faith-holders, actively refuse – to practice epistemic hygiene,”

    Eric, I know lots of people of strong faith. They function in modern, civilized society quite well. They are doctors, dentists, lawyers, engineers, developers, business owners, I/T professionals, etc. If such people are your definition of insane then your definition is not very useful.

    • > If such people are your definition of insane then your definition is not very useful.

      It predicts one thing that actually does happen: occasional episodes of delusional mania when their compartmentalization breaks down.

  104. The entire Western scientific enterprise is based on the assumption that the laws of physics work consistently across space and time. That is, by definition, unprovable.

    So how did that idea come about? It sure helps if a group of people people convince themselves that (A) there is only one god, (B) that god created everything, (C) that god’s character is consistent across time and space, and that (D) it is possible to learn more about that god by observing the universe around you.

    And of course people who believe that tend to be very good at making weapons and killing everyone who disagrees with them. Nice bonus.

  105. > [Eric] Sane people do not organize their lives, their value systems, and their identities around premises for which there is no proof.

    I presented a great deal of evidence under that post for evidence supporting my belief in God and the accuracy of the Bible. You didn’t address any of it. I therefore must consider your belief that I am insane to be completely irrational, and because you continue in your beliefs in the face of this evidence which remains unaddressed, I can consider you insane by the definitions just given. If you were to address the evidence for God and the Bible at least to the extent that I and others may understand why you are not convinced by it, that would be helpful.

    > [Parallel] The entire Western scientific enterprise is based on the assumption that the laws of physics work consistently across space and time.

    Always, I am reminded how Neil DeGrasse Tyson described his “favorite person” on Big Think (on Youtube). That person being Sir Isaac Newton. He lists off all the salient accomplishments for which he is remembered (i.e. gravity, kinematics, calculus, optics, etc. if I missed anything) “…and then he turned 26.” The part that DeGrasse Tyson leaves out is that he spent the rest of his life studying and writing on theology, believing that people would remember him longer for that topic than science.

    • >If you were to address the evidence for God and the Bible at least to the extent that I and others may understand why you are not convinced by it, that would be helpful.

      You have a short memory.

  106. @esr “occasional episodes of delusional mania”

    I’ve not seen that, certainly not to an extent to call it a trend. Neither does it square with calling people insane whether or not they exhibit that tendency. Attempting to attach (erroneous) clinical terms to things that appear to be more like pet peeves really isn’t very helpful.

  107. I am an atheist. Not only do I not believe the evidence for a God – any God – is at best wofully insufficient, I agree with Professor Steven Hawking’s argument in A Brief History of Time that the universe did not need a Creator – and, therefore, by Occam’s Razor, there is none.

    With that said, I am not hostile to religion. It is entirely possible that I am incorrect. Those who arrive at the opposite conclusion are not a priori insane. (Eric, before you dissent from that, I invite you to consider the sanity of a mutual friend who is a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I consider him one of the sanest people I know.)

    Still, all of the “proofs” advanced for the absolute truth of the Bible I’ve ever seen have been hopelessly self-referential. Independent, objectively verifiable facts that cannot be explained in any other manner are notable by their utter absence. And that doesn’t even begin to deal with the fact that the Bible has been through countless, by definition fallible, human hands, many of them with overt political axes to grind.

    Sorry. Believe all you want to, and I will not think any less of you for it. You can even pray for my soul if you feel the need. (Said member of the LDS Church gave me a copy of The Book of Mormon. It occupies an honored place on my bookshelf, because it represents an act of great friendship and deep caring.) But don’t expect me to join you in your beliefs in the absence of evidence I can see for myself and independently verify as being exactly what is claimed and proof of exactly what it is said to prove.

  108. Religion (in all its various permutations) and the memetic trait of “faith” exist because they “worked” in the sense that these practices helped our ancient ancestors survive and thrive in an era where there were many unknowns and hard-earned wisdom was both scarce and ephemeral. Disparate and isolated tribes in nearly every corner of the planet evolved methodologies for passing wisdom from generation-to-generation and the common ground shared by nearly all of them is the formalization of repetitive messaging (religion) and a proclivity for belief in the absence of direct knowledge (faith).

    A hypothetical example. Turn back the clock 25,000 years. A tribe wonders into a new valley in search of food (fleeing famine). A member of the tribe eats a new berry plant, gets sick and dies. Every first-person observer in the tribe now knows to avoid that plant, but they also need to convey this wisdom to succeeding generations and induce them to believe despite never having seen the evidence directly. Flash forward 20,000 years to the dawn of civilization and Darwin presents us with the surviving cultures and innate behavioral biases.

  109. @Jay Maynard on 2017-01-08 at 21:24:42 said:

    > Still, all of the “proofs” advanced for the absolute truth of the Bible I’ve ever seen have been hopelessly self-referential.

    As an amateur internet theologian, I can tell you that anyone offering such a thing is categorically nuts. The bible will never be proven the way that, say, relativity or quantum electrodynamics is proven.

    As a side note, I’ll add that no branch of Christianity with a history of serious intellectual theology considers the bible to be literal either. About the closest you’ll find is the LCMS, which says that the bible contains no errors that will lead a student theologically astray, without offering any opinion on the literal interpretation. Also, I’ve seen some good reasons to believe that the 900+ year ages early on were the result of misunderstanding a numbering system. But the result of that isn’t a theological error, just a chronological one.

    > Independent, objectively verifiable facts that cannot be explained in any other manner are notable by their utter absence.

    Historians are grudgingly coming around to accept that 1) the disciples were historical figures, 2) they really thought that they had witnessed the resurrection and other miracles, and 3) they intentionally provided enough details that their contemporaries could seek out other eyewitnesses to refute their stories. That’s nowhere near the level you are asking for, but it turns out to be better than the evidence supporting the existence of many other ancient historical figures and events.

    > And that doesn’t even begin to deal with the fact that the Bible has been through countless, by definition fallible, human hands, many of them with overt political axes to grind.

    And yet, the scrolls and fragments we’ve been digging up indicate that none of these people, fallible though they surely were, actually made any significant changes to the texts. The secular historians have NOT been happy about this because the myth of the politicized bible has been their go-to for centuries. If they knew that they were going to be digging up proof that the bulk of the bible survived essentially unchanged from about 70 or 100 AD until today, they’d have dug somewhere else.

    Archaeology has brought us to the point where expert Jesus-debunkers (meaning those that are familiar with the evidence as of 10-12 years ago) now accept the historicity of the new testament almost entirely. No serious scholars argue that Jesus wasn’t a historical figure, nor that his disciples didn’t exist, nor that they were delusional or confused. About the only avenues left to them at this point are “yeah, but you can’t prove that he was divine” and “Well, they must’ve been tricked then.”

  110. > In the above, ESR called me insane without giving any explanation as to why commending Jack Chick’s theological accuracy constitutes insanity or evidence thereof. It fits your description of the ad hominem attack in every detail.

    No it doesn’t. There is no such thing as an “ad hominem attack”. There is an ad hominem fallacy, which would go “Your argument is incorrect because you are insane”, or otherwise putting an attack into a chain of reasoning at the point where an argument should be. ESR is not doing that; he’s attacking you and saying he won’t reason with you. He then cannot possibly be committing an ad hominem fallacy which is an error in reasoning.

    I think the word you’re looking for is “flaming”. ESR has flamed you. ESR has maligned, insulted, abused, affronted, ridiculed, vilified, mocked, derogated and slighted you. There’s a wide vocabulary available to describe what he did without stealing terms that are already in use for something else.

    Or to put this in the manner of Carroll’s Bellman:
    The attack is not the fallacy.
    The attack is not the fallacy.
    The attack is not the fallacy.

    What I tell you three times is true.

    Perhaps I’m fighting a dysphemism treadmill, but I really want to see two things kept separate:
    -the seemingly emerging “internet ad hominem”, which identifies the point where a person is offended because they’ve been attacked or insulted
    -and the classical “logician’s ad hominem”, which identifies the point where a series of inferences breaks down because one of the steps is not valid in the specific manner of reasoning *from* attack or insult *to* proposition about truth or the like.

    ESR’s “you’re a complete drooling nutter. No mere fact will ever be permitted to interfere with your delusions. It is pointless to argue anything with you” is offensive and insulting. This makes it an internet ad hominem, or, a flame. It is not a logician’s ad hominem.

  111. In my lifetime I have been exposed to ten workplaces for more than a month, ranging from my first job at a convenience store to an office environment staffed mostly by 40-60 year olds making six figure salaries (and some college age interns). Their record is a perfect 10-for-10: at every one of them I was aware of at least one (usually more) sexually active couple.

    One poorly understood thing is that women very often DO make the first move–just, usually, not the way men do (overtly and verbally). Women usually send nonverbal signals of receptiveness to a sexual overture to men they’re interested in. They’re pretty obvious once you know what to look for.

    Unfortunately, the men most susceptible to finding themselves on the business and of a life-wrecking harassment claim are those who lack the social skills to recognize nonverbal signals of interest (or uninterest). In my experience men adept at reading nonverbal cues are rarely rejected, because they usually approach already knowing she is receptive to him.

    Trying to ban sexuality from the workplace is absurd, and Eric is right: what most everyone who seriously advocates such a thing really wants is for the low social status males to go away and stay away.

    There’s never been a better time to be a socially adept male than right now. There’s never been a worse time to be a socially awkward male.

    • >what most everyone who seriously advocates such a thing really wants is for the low social status males to go away and stay away.

      One of the ironies of the situation is that when these advocates get what they want, the result is an imbalance that constrains women’s choices. Banishing low-status males leads to increased female competition for the smaller number of males available – which puts power to set the terms of sexual relationships in the hands of the men.

      An extreme form of this is observable in black communities where exogamy is taboo and the sex ratio has been skewed by the high incarceration rate of young black males. The men who stay out of jail get to write their own ticket, sexually speaking – their girlfriends must put up with them having multiple girlfriends and being unwilling to commit to marriage, because what other choice is there?

      I have previously noted that a similar dynamic underlies the “hookup culture” on college campuses.

  112. Mash Wilson:

    There’s never been a worse time to be a socially awkward male.

    Bad news for me. What should I do?

  113. @Jorge Dujan “Bad news for me. What should I do?”

    Learn Game. It even helps old married guys like me.

    • >What about this Tor developer that says her patches to GnuPG get accepted when she pretends to be a male contributor?

      That sounds like it might be a legitimate claim and within my remit.

      I found this comment interesting:

      “so far my data shows deviance is high, so it’s mostly that there’s the really awful projects and the ones with decent human beings”

      This suggests that she thinks the problem is not cultural but individual to “really awful projects”. Which makes sense; if it were prevalent I think I would have known long since.

  114. > This suggests that she thinks the problem is not cultural but individual to “really awful projects”. Which makes sense; if it were prevalent I think I would have known long since.

    Could the existence of “really awful projects” itself be a cultural problem? I see two related potential causes:

    Projects are not willing to ‘kick out’ a single or small group of prominent ‘high-quality’ contributors, so long as they do good work, even if they drive other people away.

    People are not willing to fork a project which is run by such a person or group unless the behavior impacts them personally (and so the critical mass for such a fork to be successful never materializes).

    • >Could the existence of “really awful projects” itself be a cultural problem?

      Yes, in the limited sense that we don’t know any better models for small-project governance than having a BDFL. But that isn’t a prejudice and exclusion problem, it’s an everything problem.

  115. > This suggests that she thinks the problem is not cultural but individual to “really awful projects”. Which makes sense; if it were prevalent I think I would have known long since.

    Also… would you? It sounds like the failure mode here is that there’s an entirely typical “single ‘dictatorial’ project leader who decides what code goes in or not” project structure, differentiated only by the (extremely difficult to measure) fact that the criteria for rejection happened to include a bias against women. And it might not have even been conscious on his part – this isn’t a defense, though, the end result isn’t really better either way.

    I think it is cultural that “BDFL doesn’t like it” with no further elaboration is accepted as a valid cause for patch rejection, and that is, if nothing else, the ‘cover’ that allows for problems like this to occur.

    • >I think it is cultural that “BDFL doesn’t like it” with no further elaboration is accepted as a valid cause for patch rejection, and that is, if nothing else, the ‘cover’ that allows for problems like this to occur.

      I agree. But, again, this is not a cultural prejudice problem. And addressing prejudice by trying to “fix” our governance structures so there are fewer BDFLs could do terrible damage. The BDFL happens for a reason – the experience and taste of a highly motivated individual reliably bets hell out of design by committee.

  116. She says that she’s been submitting patches in duplicate for a decade. That should leave a paper trail a mile wide.

    • >She says that she’s been submitting patches in duplicate for a decade. That should leave a paper trail a mile wide.

      Right. If she wants to talk to me and present the evidence, I would be willing to make public stink about this that nobody could ignore.

  117. Jorge Dujan on 2017-01-10 at 09:46:11 said:
    > Mash Wilson:
    > > here’s never been a worse time to be a socially awkward male.
    > Bad news for me. What should I do?

    (1) Do not try to acquire a mate at places where rejection will compromise your career.
    (2) Develop the sorts of hobbies and non-work activities that bring you in contact with eligible women outside of work.
    (3) Learn to be less awkward, which can happen in #2.

  118. (1) Do not try to acquire a mate at places where rejection will compromise your career.
    (2) Develop the sorts of hobbies and non-work activities that bring you in contact with eligible women outside of work.
    (3) Learn to be less awkward, which can happen in #2.

    In addition to the above, dedicate to reading some red-pill / manliness web sites. Here’s a couple:
    http://www.returnofkings.com/
    http://alphagameplan.blogspot.com/
    https://dalrock.wordpress.com/
    http://www.artofmanliness.com/

  119. I think it is cultural that “BDFL doesn’t like it” with no further elaboration is accepted as a valid cause for patch rejection, and that is, if nothing else, the ‘cover’ that allows for problems like this to occur.

    My first thought it that this is a very poor approach to have. Perhaps OSS needs a “HOWTO on being a small-project manager”. Absent patch proposals which are pseudo-line noise worthless, discarding without an explanation causes the following problems:

    * There is no corrective action for the submitter to work on. That is, there’s no way for a submitter to know if they’ve missed a presubmit step, missed a coding style issue, or are working on something that is about to be ripped out and replaced.

    * It’s disrespectful. Unless you make it clear that you don’t/won’t accept patches at all, it’s assumed that you will. Somebody went through the time to make something. Dismissing that effort without explanation devalues the effort.

    * It fails to provide the mentorship and growth as a developer that OSS is talked about. If we want to grow more quality developers they are going to need useful feedback that they can learn from and improve.

    * Systematically, it can result in a reduction of the number of people who are willing to attempt to submit patches.

  120. > She says that she’s been submitting patches in duplicate for a decade. That should leave a paper trail a mile wide.

    As far as I could tell she doesn’t actually say that – simply that she’s been submitting some patches as male identities and some other patches as female identities.

    One problem is that there’s no “right” way to do this. Resubmitting a rejected patch under a male identity would make it easy to catch her in the act. Not doing so, and continuing to use female identities at all after having formed her hypothesis, leaves her open to accusations of not caring about the quality of the project.

    Submitting patches in duplicate is again easily caught. Not doing so leaves her open to the accusation (which someone actually made in a Twitter response) that she may have influenced the results by maliciously reserving the patches she knew were better to be submitted with male identities.

    Any way she could have run this experiment is open to being dismissed “well why didn’t you do it another way”. In particular, without duplicate patches you’ve got to evaluate for yourself whether the patches were of equal quality, while already having the knowledge of which patches were rejected and which were accepted.

    (To be clear, I’m not saying she did anything wrong, I’m saying that sexist or willfully-blind people are very good at coming up with plausible-sounding rationalizations)

    > (1) Do not try to acquire a mate at places where rejection will compromise your career.

    Or where they may fear that rejection will compromise their career. The whole reason it’s called out as a problem in the first place is the complex power dynamics. (If you’re a selfish enough person to need a reason why doing so affects you, consider that if someone thinks their career may be at risk they’re likely to lash out against you in pre-emptive self-defense rather than just saying no.)

  121. Random832: “I’m saying that sexist or willfully-blind people are very good at coming up with plausible-sounding rationalizations”

    s/sexist or willfully-blind//

    “> (1) Do not try to acquire a mate at places where rejection will compromise your career.

    Or where they may fear that rejection will compromise their career. ”

    But it was perfectly all right for Bill Clinton to bang Monica Lewinski.

  122. Jay:
    > Billy O:
    > > “> (1) Do not try to acquire a mate at places where rejection will compromise your career.
    > Or where they may fear that rejection will compromise their career. ”
    > But it was perfectly all right for Bill Clinton to bang Monica Lewinski.

    If you can convince 60 million (give or take) people to vote for you *after* being outed as a rapist/sexual predator (and can convince the media to spike stories about this), then you’re not really at a place where rejection will compromise your career.

    Also there’s no evidence that he “banged” her, other than with a cigar. He just came on her tits. High class, it’s the Clinton way.

  123. @Random832 on 2017-01-12 at 10:43:58 said:

    > > She says that she’s been submitting patches in duplicate for a decade. That should leave a paper trail a mile wide.

    >As far as I could tell she doesn’t actually say that – simply that she’s been submitting some patches as male identities and some other patches as female identities.

    No, she says that she’s been submitting at least some of them in duplicate.

    @isislovecruft @Dymaxion And they didn’t even notice getting the same patch twice from different names?

    @Doomed_Daniel @Dymaxion apparently not, and this still baffles me

  124. > s/sexist or willfully-blind//

    Sure, the adjectives just affect what specific predetermined conclusions they look for rationalizations for. Doing it at all is something humans of all stripes are good at.

  125. @Greg –

    > Wondering if this has popped up on anyone’s radar yet.

    Yes, OGH had posted it to his G+ feed with the comment “Because battling back against speech-policing, thought-policing totalitarian thugs is a moral imperative.?”

  126. Sorry for not getting back sooner…

    >> (Michael) If such people are your definition of insane then your definition is not very useful.

    > (Eric) It predicts one thing that actually does happen: occasional episodes of delusional mania when their compartmentalization breaks down.

    While that does actually happen, my experience has been that it happens more often and more severely with people of “no” faith than people of Christian faith. Probably consistent with human dimorphism effects we agree on, it happens more often in women than men regardless of faith. In my experience. When one truly understands the evidence, atheism requires more faith than Christianity. I have also noticed a very strong correlation between people who understand the evidence for Christianity (which is a very small subset of self-identified Christians; I think less than 25% of the adherents at the church I attend are in it) and people who accept the nonsense of anthropogenic global warming. Eric, you are an exception. Again, this is just my experience with the people I chat with and I have no surveys to quote at this time.

    > (Eric) You have a short memory.

    You seem to have an inability to refresh it, if that is indeed true. (Context reminder: I’m asking Eric to address the evidence I presented under “Sometimes I hear voices…” which supports the existence of God and the truth of the Bible, or by this point, show where he has already done so.)

    > (Jay Maynard) I agree with Professor Steven Hawking’s argument in A Brief History of Time that the universe did not need a Creator – and, therefore, by Occam’s Razor, there is none.

    I would like to discuss the evidence against this argument, if you’ll hear me out. First, the modern theory of biological evolution (still usually credited incorrectly to Charles Darwin) holds that random mutations generate information and natural selection sorts out the more useful from the less useful based on survival advantages. The actual evidence from population genetics and molecular biology shows that mutations always result in a net loss of genetic information, and that biology has very sophisticated and reliable (though not perfect) mechanisms for correcting these errors and restoring backup copies. Not one example of novel genetic information from mutations can be given. Natural selection does not filter “useful” noise into information either, as it can only act upon the outward physical expression of the organism, at the very closest to the level of DNA’s molecular code, compatibility with chemical environments (e.g. antibiotic resistance), which is still some distance from the DNA code. The outward physical expression of an organism depends too much on epigenetics and nutrition for natural selection to have much effect on the genetic code itself. It also selects alleles out of the population, and if that population loses the alleles, they are extinct and you never get them back. For example, all breeds of dog come from grey wolves, however you won’t be able to breed grey wolves from a bunch of purebred toy poodles. Based on fossil studies of platypus, they used to have teeth, but the gene that makes them has been lost, at least in observed living populations. A famous example in humans is the gene for ascorbate (better known as Vitamin C); we’ve found one, but it isn’t working in any humans living today and there is currently no way to fix it. Also, people with blood type O have a broken gene for the A antigen and would be type A if it still worked.

    Playing back this status quo for millions of years is not possible, since accumulating genetic errors will lead to information catastrophe in just a few thousand years going forward. If there were millions of years behind us, this very real problem (whether you’re Christian or otherwise) would have wiped us out by now. Genetic error catastrophe’s timeline can’t be predicted because error rates per generation very widely by time and place, being most prominent in areas exposed to high levels of fission product radiation in explosive test areas, a certain pair of Japanese cities until recently, and the area around Chernobyl, which has had just over one generation of humans to study and many more of plants and animals. (Plants are much more robust genetically, for example, with polyploidy in plants, you usually get a seedless variety, while in humans, you get Down Syndrome at best.)

  127. > (Erik) There is no such thing as an “ad hominem attack”. There is an ad hominem fallacy … I think the word you’re looking for is “flaming”. ESR has flamed you.

    You’re correct, however “flame” is generally not a word I hear at the debate table. The ad hominem “attack” and ad hominem “argument” are equally fallacious and unhelpful in these discussions, and the party using either is signalling that he is out of useful ammunition (i.e. the debate table is not a game of Factorio where the flamethrower is so much more useful than a machine gun.) I find the distinction you make is not all that important.

  128. > (Terry) I have also noticed a very strong correlation between people who understand the evidence for Christianity … and people who accept the nonsense of anthropogenic global warming.

    I somehow missed putting the word “inverse” – strong inverse correlation, i.e. informed Christians tend *not* to accept AGW while atheists do. Sorry if I confused anyone.

  129. @Terry
    “I somehow missed putting the word “inverse” – strong inverse correlation, i.e. informed Christians tend *not* to accept AGW while atheists do. ”

    That should not surprise anyone. People of faith tend to not believe scientific evidence. Atheists tend to trust scientific evidence more than those relying on faith.

    As AGW is a purely scientific concept based on physics and observational evidence, it stands to reason that those relying on science accept the evidence, while those relying on faith and ideology do not bother with the evidence.

  130. > The actual evidence from population genetics and molecular biology shows that mutations always result in a net loss of genetic information

    This is a lie. This is not only an accidental lie of the sort that might be measured true or false; it is necessarily a lie because it cannot possibly be true. This is why people flame you instead of engaging with you: because by telling this kind of lie you show that you are either personally mendacious or else you are a ‘useful idiot’ repeating mendacious people without thinking about what they say.

    Formal rebuttal: Consider two genetic states, X and Y, which are one mutation apart. Trivially, X contains the same amount of genetic information as X, and Y contains the same amount of genetic as information as Y. If the mutation from X to Y involves a net loss of genetic information, then state Y contains less genetic information than X. This implies that state X contains more genetic information than Y, which in turn implies that a mutation from Y to X involves a net gain in genetic information. Therefore, it is not true that all mutations always result in a net loss of genetic information.

    Or in informal analogical language, it’s as though you had said “changing one letter in a string always makes the string have less meaning”.

    Here’s another rebuttal, by reductio ad absurdum:

    You assert that mutations always result in a net loss of genetic information. Either losses in genetic information have some minimum quantity, or they do not. (AKA: is genetic information discrete or continuous?)

    If they do, then I can cause a genome (or whatever unit you apply mutations on) to contain an arbitrarily large negative quantity of genetic information by mutating it sufficiently many times. This is absurd.

    If they do not, then for whatever quantity of change in genetic information is the smallest perceptible by any means, then there exist arbitrarily large amounts of mutations which when taken together cause less than this amount of change. AKA, “it could mutate infinitely many times and look exactly the same.” This is also absurd.

  131. @Terry
    “Not one example of novel genetic information from mutations can be given. Natural selection does not filter “useful” noise into information either, as it can only act upon the outward physical expression of the organism, at the very closest to the level of DNA’s molecular code, compatibility with chemical environments (e.g. antibiotic resistance), which is still some distance from the DNA code. ”

    Examples abound. It just seems to me that you really do not understand biology.

    The mutations that underlie the AB0 blood types contain information about the prevalence of certain infectious diseases that deferentially affect carriers of blood types. The same with the mutation that causes sickle cell anemia. That contains information about the prevalence of malaria. There are endless numbers of cases about bacteria and pests gaining mutations that gave them the ability to pump out antibiotics or pesticides after being subjected to these agents.

    You simply do not understand what selective pressure means. If you want to have a “human build” system that gains information using mutation-selection you can simply look up genetic programming:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_programming

    or the better biological analogues, look up directed evolution of ribozymes
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1496376

    Or directed evolution itself. You will see gain of information in the population:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directed_evolution

  132. @Winter

    Winter, you’re always good for a laugh.

    “People of faith tend to not believe scientific evidence.”

    No, people of faith tend to be educated about human nature and therefore tend to not believe liars. And political hacks. And their useful idiots in the media.

    “Atheists tend to trust scientific evidence more than those relying on faith.”

    Terry is mistaken here as are you. I’ve encountered too many astute atheists who reject AGW to call this a trend. (And Christians who stupidly believe it.)

    “As AGW is a purely scientific concept based on physics and observational evidence,”

    No, AGW is purely a political movement, always has been.

    Have you ever pondered why every cause taken up by the left always has exactly the same remedy: removal of liberty, transfer of power to the elites, collectivist confiscation, ideology-based redistribution.

    It doesn’t pass the smell test and there is plenty of evidence against it.

    “while those relying on faith and ideology do not bother with the evidence.”

    Winter, what you miss is that the most compelling, plentiful, and reliable evidence is for the corruption and mal intent of those hyping AGW. There is your evidence – go where it leads.

  133. @Michael
    “Winter, what you miss is that the most compelling, plentiful, and reliable evidence is for the corruption and mal intent of those hyping AGW.”

    I was mostly referring to Creationism, but AGW would do too. To quote or most respected PotUS to be:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/23/us/politics/trump-new-york-times-interview-transcript.html

    JAMES BENNET, editorial page editor: When you say an open mind, you mean you’re just not sure whether human activity causes climate change? Do you think human activity is or isn’t connected?

    TRUMP: I think right now … well, I think there is some connectivity. There is some, something. It depends on how much. It also depends on how much it’s going to cost our companies. You have to understand, our companies are noncompetitive right now.

    In short, whether or not AGW is true depends on what it costs. Which is exactly what fuels the opposition here. Truth for sale, that is the whole Climate Sceptics, not science. And that is the same approach to truth as seen in Creationism or Germ Sceptics (remember them?) in the religious fanatics sections.

    And do not come to me complaining about science in AGW. Look here:
    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6607#comment-1372193

    At this link I am trying to get through the concept of conservation of mass in chemical reactions, and fail. Because, the combined intellect of this blog is unable to understand the relation between plant respiration and carbon dioxide cycles. This is early high-school stuff. The post I link to is a howler that would get an 8 grader an F minus in science.

  134. @ Terry – mutation is simply change from the norm in a replicating entity. If the change harms the replication entity’s survival success, it tends to die out. If the change enhances the replication entity’s survival success, it tends to persist.

    Faith is an innate behavioral bias that is a product of our evolutionary history (similar to fight or flight proclivity). We are descended from the survivors of an evolutionary gauntlet in which the acquisition of wisdom at an early age conveyed survival advantage.

    For most of our history, evolution has wrought robustness in our species. Modeling now suggests that we are transitioning away from this historical imperative. AGW is not the boogeyman, memetic anti-evolution is. We are making the OS too complex and buggy.

  135. > (Erik until further notice) Formal rebuttal: Consider two genetic states, X and Y, which are one mutation apart.

    67 letters, 26 letters to choose from. Using random.org to select two numbers to select which letter to mutate and which letter to mutate it to, I’ll naturally select any sentence that Firefox doesn’t have any underlines on…

    Sormal rebuttal: Consider two genetic states, X and Y, which are one mutation apart.

    Sormal rebuttal: Consider two genetic states, X and Y, which ere one mutation apart.

    (Note: “ere” is an old English word for “before”)

    Sormal rebuttal: Consider two genetic states, X and Y, which ere one mutation apaht.

    Sormal rebuktal: Consider two genetic states, X and Y, which ere one mutation apaht.

    Sormal rebuktal: Consider two genetic states, X and Y, which ere one mutamion apaht.

    Sormal rebuktal: Consider two genetic states, G and Y, which ere one mutamion apaht.

    Sormal rebuktal: Consider two venetic states, G and Y, which ere one mutamion apaht.

    (Italian politics are strange, lol!)

    Sormal rebuctal: Consider two venetic states, G and Y, which ere one mutamion apaht.

    Sormal rebuctal: Consider two venetic states, G and Y, which eru one mutamion apaht.

    Sormal rebuctal: Consider two venetic states, G amd Y, which eru one mutamion apaht.

    (Poor Intel.)

    Slrmal rebuctal: Consider two venetic states, G amd Y, which eru one mutamion apaht.

    I think it’s had enough mutation to make my point.

    > Therefore, it is not true that all mutations always result in a net loss of genetic information.

    But you’re not discussing evidence, you argue with pure speculation. Let’s consider two genetic states one mutation apart, X and Y …in a three billion base genome like the human one. You have a mutation that turns X to Y, breaking a gene of gbout two thousand bases, by, for example, changing an adenine to a guanine. The odds of the next mutation fixing Y back to X are one in twelve billion. Tell me, sir, how likely is chat? (I switched two letters from DNA’s alphabet as we interpret it in this paragraph.)

    That’s the sort of circumstance that explains why we don’t observe mutations that produce novel information.

    Also, to create a gene like polymerase, 2786 new bases have to be exactly right before natural selection has anything to work with, 4^2786 ways to arrange that many bases, maybe a few dozen of which will actually produce polymerase, maybe only one or two of which will actually produce *enough* polymerase (synonymic codons have different availability of tRNA in most situations.)

    > You assert that mutations always result in a net loss of genetic information.

    Actually no: I assert that the _evidence_ shows that mutation always result in a net loss of genetic information. I’m reasonably certain that the exceptions are not detectable, and even if they were, they are not remarkable. The evidence is what it is because the noise overwhelms anything useful.

    > If they do, then I can cause a genome (or whatever unit you apply mutations on) to contain an arbitrarily large negative quantity of genetic information by mutating it sufficiently many times. This is absurd.

    This is also invalid: as mutations accumulate, they start hitting already damaged information. An example in my own “Slrmal rebuctal”, the same letter (the first t in “rebuttal” originally), was hit twice. The second time did no further damage. It would also be undetectable in the evidence.

    > (Winter) The mutations that underlie the AB0 blood types contain information about the prevalence of certain infectious diseases that deferentially affect carriers of blood types. The same with the mutation that causes sickle cell anemia. That contains information about the prevalence of malaria.

    I’m sorry, what?? The mutation that causes sickle cell anemia contains information about malaria? We as intelligent humans investigating things can deduce the prevalence of malaria from population studies of this mutation in the lulls between outbreaks, but the mutation itself contains no information about malaria.

    > (Michael until further notice) Terry is mistaken here as are you. I’ve encountered too many astute atheists who reject AGW to call this a trend. (And Christians who stupidly believe it.)

    No, I’m not. My statements regarding this “trend” are highly qualified, especially since I haven’t discussed both the topics of AGW and faith with many atheists. I also didn’t say Eric was the *only* atheist I know of who rejects AGW (he isn’t, but I can count all of them on one hand.)

    > Have you ever pondered why every cause taken up by the left always has exactly the same remedy: removal of liberty, transfer of power to the elites, collectivist confiscation, ideology-based redistribution.

    This is the same sort of overgeneralization Erik has been railing against, and I’m pretty sure I’d have better success rebutting it if I considered it worthwhile to try. But since the bulk of leftishness is as you describe, I don’t see any point, nor have faith in any trend that the exceptions could be “naturally selected” to produce liberty, equality, and the pursuit of happiness.

    > (Winter) To quote or most respected PotUS to be…

    That Trump is such is news to me, lol! Seems to be quite the opposite from what I’ve heard. Then you quote the sort of brain fart that generally gets the most coverage on shows like Last Week Tonight and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Personally, I think he’s just stalling for time.

    > (TomA until the end) mutation is simply change from the norm in a replicating entity.

    Start with an incorrect definition. Okay, I think I know which side you’re on, lol!

    > Faith is an innate behavioral bias that is a product of our evolutionary history

    That is a statement of faith, as well as an incorrect definition. One could argue that the Christian faith (or any other subject of faith, or all of them) is a product of evolution, but not faith in and of itself. Faith is a side-effect of intelligence and is simply the confidence that a conclusion from incomplete knowledge is correct. I could demonstrate that cats have faith from any of a number of cat-themed Youtube videos, most of which show cats demonstrating misplaced faith in the grip or stability of a surface they are trying to jump from or land upon. If one were to define and quantify faith as the gap between the evidence to support a particular conclusion and the certainty of that conclusion, I can demonstrate that believing that God exists doesn’t require much faith on my part. It would take a very long time because of the amount of evidence I have that God exists. If one were to define and quantify faith as the amount such conclusions have on my behaviour, I have too much to be popular in most settings, and not enough to be satisfied that my behaviour is consistent with my faith.

  136. …Meh. The last word in my long comment should have been something about the basis of my faith, such as “God”, “God’s expectations”, “ideology” or something along those lines.

  137. @Terry
    “Then you quote the sort of brain fart that generally gets the most coverage on shows like Last Week Tonight and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Personally, I think he’s just stalling for time.”

    The Donald just regurgitates what he hears around him. His reasoning about AGW was what he has been told it was. This is precisely what drives the AGW deniers. They do not want to face the consequences of the problem, so they deny it exists. They are happy with science when it suits them, they will deny everything when it stops suiting them.

    I consider this the lawyer approach to science. And just as nothing but money can bring a lawyer to admit any fact, nothing can bring an AGW denier to admit any inconvenient fact.

  138. Winter: “They do not want to face the consequences of the problem, so they deny it exists.”

    When the problem only has solutions that favor the same old tired leftist prescriptions they’ve been trying to foist off on us for a century, it’s awful hard to take seriously the idea that the problem isn’t something leftists ginned up to impose their will on the rest of us.

    Especially when those same leftists who complain about CAGW skeptics denying science turn around and deny the science around GMOs.

  139. Terry, at 1797665:

    > The actual evidence from population genetics and molecular biology shows that mutations always result in a net loss of genetic information

    Terry, at 1797927, after I say that the evidence can’t show this because a) it is necessarily false and b) has absurd consequences:

    > as mutations accumulate, they start hitting already damaged information. An example in my own “Slrmal rebuctal”, the same letter (the first t in “rebuttal” originally), was hit twice. The second time did no further damage.

    You’re criticizing the consequence of your own bloody position. You have just demonstrated why the evidence cannot show the thing you are claiming it shows.

    >I think it’s had enough mutation to make my point.

    Far from it. You asserted an “always”. Not a “usually” or a “more often than not” or even a “in these ten cases”.

  140. > But you’re not discussing evidence, you argue with pure speculation. Let’s consider two genetic states one mutation apart, X and Y …in a three billion base genome like the human one. You have a mutation that turns X to Y, breaking a gene of gbout two thousand bases, by, for example, changing an adenine to a guanine. The odds of the next mutation fixing Y back to X are one in twelve billion. Tell me, sir, how likely is chat?

    Please leave this blog for some place you can learn the difference between “speculation” and “abstract reasoning”. If John Doe says that the evidence shows circles can never have a circumference greater than one mile, I don’t need to count the circumferences of various circles to know that John is talking nonsense. It suffices to look at the formula for the circumference of a circle and note that it grows with an unbounded variable; therefore the circumference of a circle is itself unbounded and John’s assertion is wrong. The odds of any particular circle having that great a circumference are also irrelevant to the fact that John is wrong.

  141. @Terry
    “The actual evidence from population genetics and molecular biology shows that mutations always result in a net loss of genetic information”

    1) You obviously also do not know what information is. I suspect you are refering to an increase in entropy (= negative information). But that is not applicable here.

    2) Needles to say that neither population genetics nor molecular biology have ever resulted in anything lime your nonsense. On the contrary, both are heavily involved in directed evolution (see links above, or wikipedia). DE disproves your statements at every turn.

  142. Terry, you are wrongly assuming that the only kind of mutation that occurs in nature is a change to a single base pair. In fact, any type of transcription error that can occur in written text can also happen when a DNA strand is copied – such as blocks of thousands of codons being duplicated in a completely different context, or omitted entirely. There are many examples of mutations of this type in the scientific record. One I happen to have heard of is in the proteins responsible for blood clotting.

    Mass duplications, obviously, introduce information (in the Shannon information-theoretic sense, which is the one you’re using) into a genome, invalidating your claim that mutations never produce new information. They also introduce proteins into contexts where they didn’t previously exist, potentially creating novel biochemical processes in the overall organism, and generating new information in the colloquial sense.

    Winter: The evidential basis for anthropogenic global warming – distinct from natural global warming, caused by processes we can’t do anything about – is a collection of computer simulations run by a small number of scientists who regularly collaborate with each other. These simulations have so many adjustable parameters that their agreement with real climate data is more likely to be the result of statistical overfitting than anything in the physical world. And they build in the assumption that CO2, when mixed with other atmospheric gases, somehow has a greenhouse effect depending linearly on CO2 concentration, though CO2 by itself has only a logarithmic greenhouse effect – an assumption with no known physical basis.

    So there’s lots of good reasons to be skeptical of AGW, even before we look at the policies being suggested to prevent it. When I do, what comes to mind is a saying of H. L. Mencken: “the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”

  143. The extent to which Linus’s and others’ foul mouths are tolerated on official community fora is still considered a problem

    By whom, exactly?

    I’m not a Linux contributor, but I can see that Linux is a very productive project, and my view as an outsider is that Linus’ style of expressing himself obviously works for him and the people who collaborate with him.

  144. Part of the problem is that Social Justice doesn’t quantify.

    “Social Justice” doesn’t exist. All justice, and injustice, is individual.

  145. @Jay Maynard&Michael Brazier

    What I read hear is almost exactly what I have read for decades from the creationists.

    1) Scientists are corrupt fools who conspire by the tens of thousands just to harm you. With the creationists, I found out pretty quickly that they themselves were corrupt and conspiring and would tell any lie to further their political cause. Above, I quoted The Donald saying explicitely that he is willing to admit the truth when it does not cost him too much. So I have become very suspicious about AGW deniers claiming scientists are lying and corrupt. That sounds a lot like projection of their own morals. Likewiee, Jay’s problems are with the political consequences of AGW much more than any science. I have never seen any jndication here that he is even interested in the science at all.

    2) Claims of inadequate or false evidence for Evolution and AGW sound very hollow from people who do not understand even basic science, see Terry’s misunderstandings of molecular biology and information theory above and my link to Eric’s howler blog “Pave the rainforrest”. If you cannot be bothered to actually inform yourself of the basics, I see no reason to take your evaluation of “scientific errors” seriously.

    To get back to the complex and “bad” climate simulations mentioned. The predictions of exact increases of global temperatures in response to CO2 concentrations are independent of establishing human influence on global temperature. Also, the evidence for CO2 driving temperatures is much more diverse than just some global circulation models and goes back to the 19th century.

    But I know, as long as Libertarianism has no ideologically accepted solution to global problems, Libertarians will simply not admit such problems exist. Just as bible fundamentalists will never accept that the world and universe are billions of years old, whatever the facts.

  146. Winter:

    “Scientists are corrupt fools who conspire by the tens of thousands just to harm you. ”

    Sorry, no. There’s a big difference between “conspir[ing] by the tens of thousands” and “knowing which side their bread is buttered on”. I have never argued the former and don’t believe it. As for the latter, it’s a common climatista argument against science funded by, say, ExxonMobil. Why should scientists from ExxonMobil know which side their bread is buttered on and scientists funded by governments not?

    The accusation of bias comes from applying your own argument to your favored scientists.

    “The predictions of exact increases of global temperatures in response to CO2 concentrations are independent of establishing human influence on global temperature.”

    And when those predictions fail completely, what are we then to think? Climatistas handwave away the simple fact that the models are demonstrably wrong and completely fail to retrodict the present, never mind correspond with the actual results within their own stated margins of error, but the facts are stubborn things and eviscerate their entire argument. What’s left is nothing more than religious belief and a burning desire to foist their form of government on us whether we want it or not – and it’s proven time and time again that the politicians who fund it all will lie, cheat, and steal to increase their power.

    Claims of “but science!” sound very hollow from people who then turn around and say “GMOs are eeeeevil!!!!“. The science around GMOs is overwhelming and, unlike the “science” around CAGW, has never been busted.

    I am interested in the true science around CAGW. What I’m not interested in are claims that “the science is settled” (science is never settled), or the utterly bogus 97% number that David Friedman has thoroughly debunked, or claims that this is the warmest year on record (by tiny fractions of a degree with only 35% confidence in the claim at all, and that only after past temperatures have been repeatedly fudged by NASA (a government agency, it should never be forgotten) without explanation or description of methodology and original data so the work can be replicated independently). I’m especially not interested in a “climate science” community that refuses to share data with those not members of the cult, that refuses to publish articles because they’re “not helpful”, that engages in character assassination of those who dare to question their results instead of welcoming those questions as central to the scientific method.

    In short, get back to me when “climate science” is one.

  147. @Jay
    “Why should scientists from ExxonMobil know which side their bread is buttered on and scientists funded by governments not?”

    You are just repeating that all sciebtists are corrupt. So I was right.

    We do have empirical evidence for the difference between industrial funded “science” and standard compettitive grants:

    Science funded by the tobacco industry was corrupt, and the funders knew it. Science outside that funded by the tobacco industry was not, even though society nor government wanted to hear about the dangers of smoking. And there are strong indications that Exxon et al. tells us something different about AGW from what they tell internally.

    However, your polarization does not apply. All scientific journals have engaged in debates wit AGW deniers. But the deniers never really came up with evidence and science. All AGW deniers came up with was accusations of fraud and FUD.

    There is no science in AGW deniers just as there is no science in creationism. It is all fake.

  148. @ Winter – “predictions of exact increases of global temperatures”

    All predictions are approximate estimations of future reality. There is no “exact” in this context.

    That you do not understand this is either ignorance, psychosis, or deception in service to some covert agenda. In the interest of clarity, please inform us as to which of these you most resemble.

  149. Winter: “What I read hear is almost exactly what I have read for decades from the creationists.”

    What you read is not what I wrote.

    “1) Scientists are corrupt fools who conspire by the tens of thousands just to harm you.”

    Tens of thousands? Not at all. Active climate research is being done by very few people – twenty? thirty? – at a number of institutions that can be counted on one hand. We’re not talking about the entire scientific community here, just one tiny fragment of it. There’s more people working on string theory (by at least two orders of magnitude) and nobody is prepared to say that that field is “settled science”.

    “If you cannot be bothered to actually inform yourself of the basics, I see no reason to take your evaluation of “scientific errors” seriously. ”

    Do you, yourself, have any idea what overfitting is, and why it’s a problem for arguments based on computer simulations?

    “Also, the evidence for CO2 driving temperatures is much more diverse than just some global circulation models and goes back to the 19th century. ”

    By this you mean either the historical correlation between CO2 concentrations and global temperatures since the Little Ice Age, or the measured greenhouse effect of CO2 alone. In the first case, the Medieval Warm Period, in which CO2 concentrations were significantly lower than at present while global temperatures were significantly higher, refutes any causal connection. And in the second case, as I said already, CO2’s greenhouse effect is logarithmically dependent on concentration; also, it covers two narrow bands of IR wavelengths, where water vapor covers most of the Earth’s IR spectrum. The theory that all the warming since 1800 AD is due to burning fossil fuels assumes a physical mechanism for which no other evidence exists.

    I claim no special expertise in this field, but I suggest that I am better informed than you, Winter. If you want someone who is an expert, you should consult Dr. Judith Curry.

  150. @Michael Brazier
    “Tens of thousands? Not at all. Active climate research is being done by very few people – twenty? thirty?”

    Not at all. Just count the authors on papers related to climate change. You only seem to count the people who do the general circulation models. And even that is an understatement. Here is the list with lead authors of the IPCC, that is hundreds of people, each part of an academic group:
    https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ar5/ar5_authors_review_editors_updated.pdf

    @Michael Brazier
    “Do you, yourself, have any idea what overfitting is, and why it’s a problem for arguments based on computer simulations?”

    Yes I do, and so do all of the scientists involved. That is in every introductory course in computer modelling. And why should that be a problem when you are studying atmospheric driving forces? You seem to equate predicting future climate with studying current and past driving forces.

    @Michael Brazier
    “By this you mean either the historical correlation between CO2 concentrations and global temperatures since the Little Ice Age, or the measured greenhouse effect of CO2 alone.”

    No, I mean atmospheric science. The role of CO2 in global temperature was already studied by Tyndall, Arrhenius, and Chamberlin in the 19th century.
    http://history.aip.org/climate/co2.htm

    @Michael BRazier
    “I claim no special expertise in this field, but I suggest that I am better informed than you,”

    The first part I can only agree with, the second part has not yet been shown. On the contrary, I think.

  151. @TomA
    “All predictions are approximate estimations of future reality. There is no “exact” in this context.”

    Indeed, but I have seen people here claiming that the predictions are outside some narrow band and therefore AGW cannot exist. This is rubbish, obviously.

    @TomA
    “That you do not understand this is either ignorance, psychosis, or deception in service to some covert agenda.”

    I do not see how the “prediction” part should be connected to my mental health. I am pretty sure I do not suffer from psychosis. My “covert agendas” are to further the cause of evidence based policies, the long term habitability of the Earth, and the short term preservation of the environment. But I have never made that a secret so they are not that covert.

    With respect to ignorance, we can all learn. Though, I do prefer resources backed by numbers and facts over made-up Just-So stories and hear-say.

  152. “You are just repeating that all sciebtists are corrupt.”

    No, I’m saying that they’re no less corruptible than anyone else, and government-funded scientists are not angels compared to hose funded from other sources.

    “people here claiming that the predictions are outside some narrow band and therefore AGW cannot exist.”

    The claim is that the predictions come with error bars, and the reality is outside those error bars. They’re falsified by their own terms. When someone says “it’s going to look like this, and it can be as different as this from that prediction”, and the actuality is different from the prediction by more than the stated allowance, then the prediction is bad.

    It’s really just that simple.

    Let me ask you this: If a prediction is incorrect by even more than its stated error, why do you say it has value, and what would make it valueless?

    “My “covert agendas” are to further the cause of evidence based policies, the long term habitability of the Earth, and the short term preservation of the environment.”

    And to promote the leftist dream of a government-run economy.

  153. @Jay
    “No, I’m saying that they’re no less corruptible than anyone else, and government-funded scientists are not angels compared to hose funded from other sources.”

    No, but they are checked by those funded by others. We have pretty strong cases about companies using funding to derail science (tobacco etc.) and pretty few of a global conspiracy of government funded science.

    But this is all misdirection. All those company funded scientists you mention were unable to come up with any evidence that AGW is a collective fraud. The only thing they could come up with was baseless FUD.

    All the laws, rules and regulations I have ever seen from all kinds of government funded institutions were unanimous in labeling the behavior you describe as “fraud”, punishable by immediate termination of employment and criminal charges. So this is considered “corruption” by everyone involved.

    What you claim is that AGW is a collective global fraud by all climate scientists who ever published support for AGW.

  154. No, but they are checked by those funded by others.

    This does not appear to be the case. If their work is checked by others, the AGW side considers the check confirmed if it agrees with the work, and if it doesn’t, they consider the check unfounded by argument of funding source, or personal bias. This is an intellectually dishonest principle.

  155. Me: “By this you mean either the historical correlation between CO2 concentrations and global temperatures since the Little Ice Age, or the measured greenhouse effect of CO2 alone.”

    Winter: “No, I mean atmospheric science. The role of CO2 in global temperature was already studied by Tyndall, Arrhenius, and Chamberlin in the 19th century.”

    You are a parrot, Winter – you can only repeat what others have told you. Where did you think I got the statement that CO2’s greenhouse effect depends logarithmically on its concentration? If you actually knew the science, you’d have recognized it as Arrhenius’ calculation in 1896 without me having to tell you so.

    You might also have recognized Ångström’s objection to that calculation, based on CO2’s IR absorption spectrum that he determined in 1900, if you knew the full history of the debate. But since you know only what AGW’s believers tell you, you didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. And you have the gall to call me ignorant?

  156. @ Winter – “predictions of exact increases of global temperatures”
    @ TomA – “There is no “exact” in this context.”
    @ Winter – “Indeed”

    Then why did you write this misleading statement that implies a certitude that does not exist? Was it your intent to sound authoritative and definitive (perhaps even dogmatic)?

    I imagine this tactic works well for you when addressing weak-minded individuals such as young impressionable students. However, attempted intimidation is not going to work on this board. Rather, you would do well to admit the error and show some contrition. This would also be good advice for the AGW modelers whose own analysis disputes their claims.

  157. > (Erik) Terry, at 1797927, after I say that the evidence can’t show this…

    You’re using abstract reasoning to deny real-world evidence. Perhaps this is something we disagree on, but I believe that is very silly, and I will not take any such argument seriously. If you really want to rebut me, you need to answer the question that Gillian Brown asked Richard Dawkins nearly 21 years ago now which he could not answer: Can you provide an example from biology or the fossil record of any mutation which has added new information to the genome. (Verbatim, it’s “Can you give an example of a genetic mutation or or or or an evolutionary process which h- can be seen to increase the information in the genome” – stutters and all.)

    >> (Terry) I think it’s had enough mutation to make my point.

    > (Erik) Far from it. You asserted an “always”. Not a “usually” or a “more often than not” or even a “in these ten cases”.

    How does that explain how we got from magma to molecular biologists over billions of years? How does this turn your “abstract reasoning” into a rebuttal of the evidence that I should take seriously?

    > (Erik) If John Doe says that the evidence shows circles can never have a circumference greater than one mile, I don’t need to count the circumferences of various circles to know that John is talking nonsense. It suffices to look at the formula…

    Let’s assume for a moment that the universe is very different to entertain this hypothetical: if John Doe makes this claim, and he’s correct, i.e. no one has ever seen a circle with a circumference greater than one mile and there is no substantiated claim in the scientific literature that there has been such a circle, and then he takes a piece of paper and draws you a small circle and explains clearly why from the little circle it’s obvious you can never have one bigger than one mile, he has every right to tell you the unbounded nature of the diameter equation has no weight in telling him there can be such a circle, and that you are talking nonsense. I have done all the equivalents for Evolution.

    Oh, by the way, what’s the equation for universal common ancestry?

    > (Winter) 1) You obviously also do not know what information is.

    Something that isn’t measured in shannons. You see, he only dealt with the data link layer of information, dealing with transmission through the physical media and ensuring it can be decoded at the other end. This type of information has no inherent meaning and explains nothing about how a 4.5Gb DNA strand decompresses itself into the human form. There is a heck of a lot more to information than the statistical probability that it is correct. This is why NASA has gotten so damn good at transmitting it hundreds of billions of kilometres. Your other point is so vacuous and empty that it is not worth responding to. (Also full of spelling errors.)

    > (Michael) Terry, you are wrongly assuming that the only kind of mutation that occurs in nature is a change to a single base pair.

    You are wrongly reading assumptions from what hasn’t been discussed, my friend. Just because we haven’t discussed something doesn’t mean I’ve assumed it doesn’t exist, even if it were something I know little about. But… indels are my friend. Some of them appear to be by design, and some are true mutations (many of which are called endogenous retroviruses, or ERVs, big chains of DNA that have been moved around, the assumption being that they used to be in viral genomes …except that they can’t find any free viruses with such DNA in them.) An indel is an insertion or deletion (often we can’t tell which), analogous in the text that we’re working with to pasting and cutting.

    > (Apparent design) Terry, the assumption you are making that there are only single base pair mutations is wrong.

    > (Apparent error) Terry, you are change to a single base pair. mutation that occurs wrongly assuming that the only kind of in nature is a

    The difference is a gene that still works and a gene that doesn’t. Also, multicellular genomes cut and paste protein coding genes on a regular basis (introns and exons). Sometimes one is broken and a protein is malformed, deficient in production, or absent altogether. Sometimes a malformed protein is beneficial in niche environments, the flagship example being a protein fragment that has at one end a hydrophilic amino acid (half of the twenty are such) and the other has a hydrophobic amino acid (the other half of the twenty.) Makes a good antifreeze and is therefore called an antifreeze protein. Touted as evolution until they found out how novel it really was. I’m a sound guy, and if I need a hammer for a minor task, but find a broken microphone first, guess what happens! SM58s are built such that they still work as hammers after they’ve quit as microphones. It doesn’t explain the origin of either hammers or microphones.

    > (Michael) Mass duplications, obviously, introduce information (in the Shannon information-theoretic sense, which is the one you’re using)…

    No, that’s not the sense that I’m using. Claude Shannon was dealing with the integrity of transmitted data in radio and telephone communications, not the sort of information that you find in DNA. His work could be used as a yardstick for measuring the performance of DNA replication and error checking mechanisms and performance (which is still unmatched even by DSN experts), but it doesn’t describe the type of information I’m talking about. Look up Wernher Gitt; he doesn’t have an SI unit named after him, but does a much better job of describing information in the sense that I’m talking about.

    > …into a genome, invalidating your claim that mutations never produce new information.

    In the case of an indel or ERV, the information came from somewhere, i.e. it was not produced *from scratch*. The origin of that information remains unexplained.

    (Boy, are they handy in text, too. I missed part of your comment I wanted to respond to once I got to a computer I could respond from, and typed all of the above in the wrong place after quoting you, lol!)

    > (Winter) You are just repeating that all sciebtists are corrupt. So I was right.

    Romans 3:23 ftw. It does appear that we all agree that corruption and conspiracy are not synonymous. Even if you can’t figure that out.

    > (Winter) Here is the list…

    274 is still a far cry from tens of thousands. (I notice name #7… is that you?) There are even more authors with professional credentials questioning the official story of the World Trade Center’s destruction. I’m not too worried about the numbers, as even a unanimous majority can be wrong.

  158. @Paul Brinkely
    “This is an intellectually dishonest principle.”

    The behavior you describe is called fraud. It means you consider all climate scientists corrupt. Which was my original claim about AGW deniers. The only thing they can bring up against AGW is that all scientists are corrupt and it is all a conspiracy.

    @Michael Brazier
    “You are a parrot, Winter – you can only repeat what others have told you.”

    You misunderstood my comment about climate science of CO2 going back to the 19th century. I corrected this misunderstanding. I do not see why you take issue with that? Furthermore, neither you nor I have done any climate research, so we only can know what others have told us.

    @Michael Brazier
    “You might also have recognized Ångström’s objection to that calculation, based on CO2’s IR absorption spectrum that he determined in 1900, if you knew the full history of the debate.”

    Science has progressed since Ångström’s work more than a century ago. He had questions about the role of CO2 in driving the earth’s temperature, others have answered them a long time ago. That is how science works.

    @TomA
    “Then why did you write this misleading statement that implies a certitude that does not exist?”

    I do not understand what you mean here. Earlier, our esteemed host claimed AGW was totally disproved because the observed rise in global temperature did not match a narrow confidence interval of an earlier prediction. That was what I was referring to when I wrote “The predictions of exact increases of global temperatures in response to CO2 concentrations are independent of establishing human influence on global temperature.”.

    @TomA
    “I imagine this tactic works well for you when addressing weak-minded individuals such as young impressionable students.”

    You are continuously looking for hidden evil intentions in every sentence I write. But in the end, you understand nothing at all of what I write.

    You sound like that moronic tag-line from the X-Files “Trust No One”. Paranoids rarely get anywhere in life. If you really trust no one, you die. So, in the end, paranoid people end up to trust the wrong people. Con men like Trump make a good living from people who claim to trust no one.

    I see it here all the time. People claiming to see through the evil conspiracies of the X (fill in favorite group) are falling for every con game or practical joke played on them.

  159. “because the observed rise in global temperature did not match a narrow confidence interval of an earlier prediction.”

    No, it did not match the confidence intervals of every model used by the “climate science” community to push their theory. There’s a word for that: <busted.

    “What you claim is that AGW is a collective global fraud by all climate scientists who ever published support for AGW.”

    Nope. The fault in your sentence is the word “all”. Fraud carries with it an intent to defraud. Not all “vlimate scientists” are intentionally fraudulent. Many are swept along by that good old-time CAGW religion.

    “You are continuously looking for hidden evil intentions in every sentence I write.”

    The price of freedom os constant vigilance.

  160. The word “conspiracy” gets thrown around a bit too lightly here, methinks. Consider the following: if you call up four Jews in America, Europe, Africa and Asia – civilian, unimportant Jews – and ask them questions about Judaism, you can reasonably expect to get similar answers from all four, despite the fact that they’ve never spoken to each other and couldn’t even theoretically have conspired to give similar answers.

    Perhaps a lesser comparative is in order, such as “coordination” or “common sourcing”.

  161. @Jay
    “No, it did not match the confidence intervals of every model used by the “climate science” community to push their theory. There’s a word for that: busted.”

    The Navier Stokes equations nor thermodynamics are “busted” when the weather predictions don’t work out as well as you thought. AGW does not depended on whether the rise in temperature is 1 or 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius.

    What was busted were assumptions in the models about the heat transfer to the oceans. Not separating the incompleteness of the models from the validity of the underlying atmospheric processes is bad science.

    But we know how this works. Picking out isolated unanswered questions and using them to discredit all of science is well known from the tobacco industries’ “research” and Creationism. AGW deniers are completely in that league.

    @Jay
    “Many are swept along by that good old-time CAGW religion.”

    Oh, so the claim is now that half of them are corrupt, and the other half grossly incompetent.

    The answer to “Why should we dismiss AGW and should not listen to scientists?” is therefore “Climate scientists are either corrupt or grossly incompetent”.

    All this wrangling just because the AGW deniers cannot come up with any science or facts themselves. FUD, FUD and more FUD.

  162. @Erik
    “Perhaps a lesser comparative is in order, such as “coordination” or “common sourcing”.”

    Coordination to defraud others is generally called a “conspiracy”. I do not see why I should use a euphemism. The claim is simple that AGW can be denied because all climate scientists are either corrupt or grossly incompetent. That is it. That is all there is in AGW deniers. Nothing of substance, no facts, just “they must be corrupt or incompetent, so I do not have to listen”.

    Btw, this seems to hold for all scientists that produce unwanted results. Be it economics, human genetics (race), human psychology (IQ) or whatever. Whenever I come up with research showing the prevailing prejudices are wrong I get to hear that these scientists were corrupt and/or grossly incompetent.

    I start to get a very grim view of the society you live in if that is how you trust your compatriots.

  163. “I start to get a very grim view of the society you live in if that is how you trust your compatriots.”

    Ronaldus Magnus said it best: “Trust, but verify.”

    When someone leads me down the garden path repeatedly, why should I trust them?

  164. Michael, FooQuuxman, and William O. B’Livion:

    Thanks for the suggestions, but I’m not trying to “acquire a mate”; that wasn’t the intent of my question. I guess I misunderstood Mash Wilson’s remark, so I apologize for having wasted your time. I hope this video makes up for it. (Trust me on this: it’s not your average cute-cat video.)

  165. @ Winter

    You perceive a catastrophic threat to the planet via AGW and advocate for worldwide governments to use their power to enforce a reduction in CO2 emissions. In your mind, this is a reasonable and necessary thing to do, and you can’t imagine how this mindset could do any harm even if it was later shown that AGW predictions are bogus. In essence, you want to control the world based upon your perception of a future problem.

    You accuse me of paranoia, but methinks you may be experiencing megalomania instead.

  166. >“You are continuously looking for hidden evil intentions in every sentence I write.”

    That’s just because people have gotten to know you.

  167. > (Erik) Perhaps a lesser comparative is in order, such as “coordination” or “common sourcing”.

    The big comment containing the little input I have on the CAGW thread (which I considered settled long before March 2014 and ESR’s blog post #5297 regarding it), was delayed…

    > (Winter quoted) You are just repeating that all sciebtists are corrupt. So I was right.

    > (Terry) [Something vague about all scientists being corrupt] It does appear that we all agree that corruption and conspiracy are not synonymous. Even if you can’t figure that out.

  168. Winter: “Science has progressed since Ångström’s work more than a century ago. He had questions about the role of CO2 in driving the earth’s temperature, others have answered them a long time ago. That is how science works.”

    Wrong. Ångström’s objection has never been answered; it has only been dismissed. I challenge you to produce a scientific paper which addresses Ångström’s measurement of CO2’s absorption spectrum, and his conclusion that CO2’s ability to absorb IR was already saturated at the concentrations of 1900 AD.

    Saying airily “oh, I’m sure someone answered that question” is no more than a declaration of faith – “science” treated as an infallible authority. That is not how science is supposed to work, and if AGW research does work that way it isn’t science.

    “The Navier Stokes equations nor thermodynamics are “busted” when the weather predictions don’t work out as well as you thought. AGW does not depended on whether the rise in temperature is 1 or 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius. ”

    What does it depend on? At what point is the disagreement between the simulations’ predictions and reality good reason to ignore the simulations?

    “What was busted were assumptions in the models about the heat transfer to the oceans.”

    Sure, let’s add a few more epicycles and deferents, that’ll fix things!

    I refer you again to my remarks on overfitting. At best changing the assumptions about heat transfer to the oceans just adjusts the values of some parameters in the models; doing that doesn’t add any confidence to predictions from the models. At worst it adds more parameters, giving more scope to overfitting and reducing confidence in the models.

  169. > (Winter quoted) What was busted were assumptions in the models about the heat transfer to the oceans.

    > (Michael) Sure, let’s add a few more epicycles and deferents, that’ll fix things!

    ESR’s prediction is happening much closer to where it was made than I expected…

    > (Eric post #5297) Here is my next prediction – and remember, I have been *consistently* right about these. The next phase of the comedy will feature increasingly frantic attempts to bolt epicycles onto the models.

    (Sorry, I couldn’t preserve the original emphasis, so I did something that sucks a syphilitic camel’s- …nvm, I shouldn’t have said anything. /S)

  170. Terry: “Claude Shannon was dealing with the integrity of transmitted data in radio and telephone communications, not the sort of information that you find in DNA. His work could be used as a yardstick for measuring the performance of DNA replication and error checking mechanisms and performance (which is still unmatched even by DSN experts), but it doesn’t describe the type of information I’m talking about. Look up Wernher Gitt; he doesn’t have an SI unit named after him, but does a much better job of describing information in the sense that I’m talking about.”

    Oh dear. A young-earth creationist? Really?

    Here’s an article about Werner Gitt’s misunderstanding of Shannon’s work. Gitt can’t claim to have distinguished his definition of “information” from Shannon’s if he can’t describe Shannon’s theory correctly.

    Regarding the semantic aspect of genes: the only rigorous definition of the “meaning” of a genome AFAIK is a mature organism, because it’s the whole organism that sustains and reproduces itself, or fails to do so. Under that definition, “any mutation which has added new information to the genome” becomes “any mutation which has made a new organism”, which is nonsense – new organisms are made by reproduction. And asking for a mutation that made a new species (the nearest thing to what you said that makes sense) is foolish – speciation is an extended process, the cumulative result of many mutations, and no single mutation can be pointed to as the definite boundary between two species.

    Finally, getting around to what I must assume you really want to know: the origin of the information in an organism’s genome is the environment in which its ancestors survived. Given the time involved since the appearance of life, and the range of possible mutations, it’s unnecessary to assume any source other than that.

  171. @Michael Brazier
    “I challenge you to produce a scientific paper which addresses Ångström’s measurement of CO2’s absorption spectrum, and his conclusion that CO2’s ability to absorb IR was already saturated at the concentrations of 1900 AD.”

    Challenge accepted. Follow the links in this historical story:
    http://history.aip.org/climate/co2.htm

    You really think scientists are morons, do you.

    @Terry
    “The next phase of the comedy will feature increasingly frantic attempts to bolt epicycles onto the models.”

    Heat transport to the ocean has been part of the models from the very beginning (see the historic article at link above). What was lacking was hard data about how fast this process was. You have to send out ships making precise temperature and current measurements, which is both difficult and very expensive. These data have been collected and the results are published here:

    Varying planetary heat sink led to global-warming slowdown and acceleration
    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/345/6199/897

    So, this is not an epicycle, but a parameter change due to improved measurements. Meanwhile, temperature have started to rise rapidly again. 2016 was the warmest year on record, with 2015 second and 2014 third. 16 of 17 hottest years on record are from this century.

  172. @Michael Brazier
    “What does it depend on? At what point is the disagreement between the simulations’ predictions and reality good reason to ignore the simulations?”

    What does meteorology depends on? On knowing the physics and measuring outcomes. Not on being right on the precipitation in your garden tomorrow being 2 mm falling between 15:00 and 17:00 hours. AGW is about climate changing due to increased CO2. By how much depends on everything from aerosol concentrations, to cloud formation to changes in ocean currents and responses of the biosphere.

    Anyhow, with 16 of the 17 hottest years on record this century and glaziers disappearing before our eyes, I think the climate predictions from the 1980s were spot on. The Sahara desert is already creeping up into Southern Europe, and we are growing wine in the Netherlands. Also spot on.

  173. @Terry
    ” It does appear that we all agree that corruption and conspiracy are not synonymous. Even if you can’t figure that out.”

    It is all four, incompetence, fraud, corruption, and conspiracy.

    @Jay: “Why should scientists from ExxonMobil know which side their bread is buttered on and scientists funded by governments not?”

    Lying for money => corruption

    @Paul Brinkley
    ” If their work is checked by others, the AGW side considers the check confirmed if it agrees with the work, and if it doesn’t, they consider the check unfounded by argument of funding source, or personal bias.”

    Fraud

    @Jay:
    “Many are swept along by that good old-time CAGW religion.”

    Gross incompetence

    @Jay and others
    “And to promote the leftist dream of a government-run economy.”

    An ulterior motive in promoting AGW => conspiracy

  174. “@Jay: “Why should scientists from ExxonMobil know which side their bread is buttered on and scientists funded by governments not?”

    Lying for money => corruption”

    And you dodge the argument yet again.

    If scientists funded by ExxonMobil are corrupt, so are scientists funded by governments.

  175. @Jay
    “If scientists funded by ExxonMobil are corrupt, so are scientists funded by governments.”

    I do not care about scientists funded by ExxonMobil. There are indications that ExxonMobile could tell the public a different story from what they know internally (like the tobacco industry did). Note I say ExxonMobile, the company. However, their contributions to the debate are negligible so this is utterly irrelevant.

    Evidence from ExxonMobile et al. is considered on an equal footing in the scientific debate. It is just that they do not have anything to offer but FUD. All evidence is taken into account if it is backed by genuine research. But you have to offer real research and results, not accusations and FUD.

    You claim a considerable fraction of the global scientific community are corrupt. So much so, that you can ignore all government funded climate research.

    That is my claim. Not who is the bigger crook.

  176. “And to promote the leftist dream of a government-run economy.”

    Well maybe if all the non-leftists weren’t busy denying global warming instead of coming up with solutions to it…

  177. Me: “I challenge you to produce a scientific paper which addresses Ångström’s measurement of CO2’s absorption spectrum, and his conclusion that CO2’s ability to absorb IR was already saturated at the concentrations of 1900 AD.”

    Winter: “Challenge accepted. Follow the links in this historical story: http://history.aip.org/climate/co2.htm

    Having read through this carefully, I say you have failed. Exactly two researchers are mentioned as addressing the spectroscopic objection (Hulburt and Callendar) and neither found an answer to it. The later work of Kaplan and Plass established only that CO2’s absorption bands aren’t shared with H2O’s, which misses the point that CO2’s absorption bands are much sparser than H2O’s, reducing the total energy CO2 can absorb from Earth’s blackbody radiation to a small fraction of what H2O can manage.

    “What does meteorology depends on? On knowing the physics and measuring outcomes. Not on being right on the precipitation in your garden tomorrow being 2 mm falling between 15:00 and 17:00 hours.”

    Nobody expects weather predictions to be more than broadly accurate, and nobody even tries to predict the weather for more than a week ahead. The fundamental dynamics of the atmosphere don’t allow more accuracy than that. Meteorologists don’t make claims beyond what the data permits to them, so they’re usually believed when they do make claims.

    “AGW is about climate changing due to increased CO2. By how much depends on everything from aerosol concentrations, to cloud formation to changes in ocean currents and responses of the biosphere.”

    IOW the climate modelers have lots and lots of ways to adjust their simulations to make them agree with reality after the fact. Which in turn means the simulations have very little value as predictors before the fact – overfitting, again. You’re not helping your case here.

  178. Random832: “Well maybe if all the non-leftists weren’t busy denying global warming instead of coming up with solutions to it…”

    Let me introduce you to this novel concept. It’s called “burden of proof”. It’s not my job to come up with solutions to a non-problem. If you think it’s a problem, you come up with solutions to it.

    Nobody in the CAGW cult is even trying to come up with solutions that aren’t the same old tired leftist programs. That places their motives squarely in the crosshairs.

  179. > (Michael) Finally, getting around to what I must assume you really want to know: the origin of the information in an organism’s genome is the environment in which its ancestors survived. Given the time involved since the appearance of life, and the range of possible mutations, it’s unnecessary to assume any source other than that.

    How exactly does that work? Oh, I’m just curious, but you might *really* want to think about that, as a million dollar prize (still unclaimed) has been offered for a plausible answer to that question. It doesn’t have to be proven, merely plausible in light of our current understanding of how biology works. (I’m not posting a link to keep this comment from being delayed.)

    If no one can even imagine a mechanism for how an environment creates information as you describe that remains consistent with our scientific understanding of biology, how could it be unnecessary to assume there is no other source? In this case, i.e. the real world, we would not be here to discuss the matter, and neither would any other organism on this planet, if there was no other source.

    By the way, even Richard Dawkins has admitted there must be another source, and under unbelievable circumstances: He was being interviewed by Ben Stein for the documentary/movie “No Intelligence Allowed” about the persecution of non-evolutionists in the US education system, and this was many years after the Gillian Brown gaffe.

  180. Terry: “How exactly does that work? Oh, I’m just curious, but you might *really* want to think about that, as a million dollar prize (still unclaimed) has been offered for a plausible answer to that question.”

    That’s very interesting. Who’s offering the prize?

    “If no one can even imagine a mechanism for how an environment creates information as you describe that remains consistent with our scientific understanding of biology, how could it be unnecessary to assume there is no other source?”

    An ill-posed question. Environments don’t create information, they just have it. By surviving and reproducing, an organism establishes that it’s well-adapted to the conditions it encountered – it has been informed by its environment, both in Shannon’s sense (uncertainty has been removed and local entropy decreased) and the semantic one. Alternately, organisms that don’t survive and reproduce are also informed by their environment, though less happily.

    The key here is that “information has been received” implies some consciousness (not much) in the receiver, but none at all in the transmitter. If that were untrue, it would follow that because cartographers can prepare maps of the Grand Canyon, the Grand Canyon must have been deliberately excavated, and not eroded over geologic eras by a river.

  181. @Terry
    “If no one can even imagine a mechanism for how an environment creates information as you describe that remains consistent with our scientific understanding of biology, how could it be unnecessary to assume there is no other source?”

    This is because you are using “information” where you should use “entropy”. Information only has a meaning when there is a single observation and a probability distribution of outcomes. But speciation is only defined when you are talking about the evolution of a population.

    A mutation increases the entropy of the gene pool of a population. That is your incorrect use of “negative information of a mutation”. Over time, mutations increase the entropy of the genomes in the population and that would result in the population dying out. However, the environment reduces the entropy in the gene pool by selectively removing the genomes that are least functional. This leads to a dynamic equilibrium where the entropy increase from mutations is equal to the entropy decrease due to selective procreation.

    A dynamic equilibrium in the gene pool obviously means that the gene pool itself will change over time. [insert discussion about fitness gradient descent]

    A little population genetics will tell you that a changing gene pool will mean that at a certain point, random changes in the DNA will have the consequence that individuals in the population will not be able to get viable offspring anymore with individuals of the original population or other, isolated, populations. That is, a new species has evolved.

    That is it. It is so simple and you can model it on your computer with a small program. It works every time.

  182. @Michael BRazier
    “Having read through this carefully, I say you have failed.”

    Moving goal posts. It was well explained in that link why Ångström’s measurement were crude and imprecise. Also, scientists are not the morons you portrait them.

    But, why not. Here is another (old) explanation of the same problem:
    Carbon Dioxide and the Climate
    http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/27859450.pdf

    Much more can be found in:
    Global Physical Climatology by Dennis L. Hartmann
    https://books.google.nl/books?id=RsScBAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&hl=nl#v=onepage&q&f=false

  183. @Jay
    “It’s not my job to come up with solutions to a non-problem. If you think it’s a problem, you come up with solutions to it.”

    This is a daft statement. If it is a problem, it is a problem of everybody.

    But the global community of scientists and politicians do come up with a solution. It is just that you do not like that solution and have no clue on a better one. So you put your fingers in your ears, close your eyes and simply deny that there is a problem.

  184. “This is a daft statement. If it is a problem, it is a problem of everybody.”

    That’s a might big if there, though, and one that has not been proven.

    “But the global community of scientists and politicians do come up with a solution.”

    To a problem they invented. That their solution is exactly the same as the Left’s solution to every other problem, real and imagined, casts serious doubt on any idea that the problem wasn’t invented to provide an excuse for their solution.

    And it’s not “the global community of scientists”. Once you get outside the realm of “climate science”, there are plenty of scientists who disagree. When a physicist tells me I’m getting the physics wrong, I reevaluate. When a physicist tells a “climate scientist” they’re getting the physics wrong, the “climate scientist” digs in his heels and says “this is about climate, and you don’t know what you’re talking about”.

  185. @Jay
    “To a problem they invented. ”

    Hear nothing See nothing. You sound like a cancer patient that denies he is ill because he cannot cope with the consequences.

    (they do exist:
    http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/coping-with-cancer/coping-emotionally/cancer-and-your-emotions/shock-and-denial )

    @JAy
    “Once you get outside the realm of “climate science”, there are plenty of scientists who disagree.”

    Not really. But this is along the lines of that creationist pharmacologist that “proves” evolution does not happen. What special knowledge about the matter does he have? It always turns out not more than Joe Random Bystander.

    But I understand. No matter what the evidence and what the science, you can always claim that all involved are corrupt, frauds, and incompetents and it is all a conspiracy.

  186. “But this is along the lines of that creationist pharmacologist that “proves” evolution does not happen.”

    Sorry, no. A physicist does not become an untrained layman when speaking about physics just because it’s related to “climate science”. A physicist is a physicist, and a trained expert, when speaking about physics, regardless of the application of that knowledge. If a physicist tells a “climate scientist” that he’s getting the physics wrong, then the physicist is the one to believe.

  187. Parrot: “It was well explained in that link why Ångström’s measurement were crude and imprecise.”

    Again: The later work of Kaplan and Plass established only that CO2’s absorption bands aren’t shared with H2O’s, which misses the point that CO2’s absorption bands are much sparser than H2O’s, reducing the total energy CO2 can absorb from Earth’s blackbody radiation to a small fraction of what H2O can manage.

    The imprecision of Ångström’s measurements doesn’t refute the spectroscopic objection.

    Neither of your links is easily readable – though I can see that the first is Plass’ paper, so you made some effort to find the original sources. Go you. Of course I’ve lost all confidence in your ability to understand a scientific paper by now, so you just run along and find me a copy that isn’t locked behind a paywall.

  188. @Jay,
    “A physicist is a physicist, and a trained expert, when speaking about physics, regardless of the application of that knowledge.”

    Sorry, but I am a physicist by training you are talking nonsense.

    “Applied” physics requires detailed knowledge about specific systems. You cannot understand the niceties of weather predictions or earth quakes if you did not study the details of the earth’s atmosphere or plate tectonics. The same for atmospheric sciences.

    Moreover, you would need more than a few of such critics to impress anyone. We still have “physicists” who do not believe in quantum theory or general relativity, “biologists” who do not believe in evolution, and “virologists” who do not believe AIDS is caused by a virus. So some outsider physicist who claims that all Climatologists are Wrong should have some real data to back up his claims.

  189. @Michael Brazier
    “Neither of your links is easily readable – though I can see that the first is Plass’ paper, so you made some effort to find the original sources.”

    If you cannot understand the source papers, maybe you should try some of the popularizations? It is pretty easy to find many introductions. Start with Scientific American or the like. Also, you do not seem to understand the role of IR absorption by CO2 and its interaction with water vapor in the atmosphere. Just picking out CO2 in the lab and forgetting about the whole atmosphere does lead you astray. It is all explained in the book and papers.

    But it seems you are asking for the sources, claim they are too difficult, and then claim the more popular descriptions you can understand are lies and confabulations. I sense some contradictions here. Maybe, you simply do not want to accept the conclusions whatever the evidence?

  190. > Let me introduce you to this novel concept. It’s called “burden of proof”. It’s not my job to come
    > up with solutions to a non-problem. If you think it’s a problem, you come up with solutions to it.

    Here’s an allegation as to your subconscious thought processes:
    1. Nothing exists that has no free market solution.
    2. Global warming has no free market solution.
    3. Therefore, global warming does not exist.

    (1) is an article of faith to libertarians as far as I can see. Fine. (I think it’s wrong, but that’s personal opinion.)
    (2) is, so far as I can tell, true. At least, I haven’t seen one.
    (3) is clearly either true or false independent of everything else. We’ll find out which it is when sea level rises two meters, or doesn’t. (I think it says something that 2014-2016 were all the hottest years ever recorded, and that in the declining phase of a small solar cycle.)

    The best way to convince me you aren’t thinking like this, and deluding yourself into believing that a very plausible problem doesn’t exist, is to disprove (2). Fortunately, this is the easiest one to disprove.

  191. @EMF
    “Also, how the heck did we get here?”

    It is all because of Reductio ad Stalin:
    [Any Subject] -> Socialists -> AGW -> Stalin -> Gulach

  192. > (I think it says something that 2014-2016 were all the hottest years ever recorded, and that in the declining phase of a small solar cycle.)

    Remember, they deny temperature observations along with everything else.

  193. Jay:
    > Ronaldus Magnus said it best: “Trust, but verify.”

    Of course, that’s a Russian proverb
    (transliterated: dovyeryaj, no provyeryaj; volapuk: DoBepRN’, Ho npoBepRN’) originally.
    (And it took me a while to realize you were referring to Ronald Wilson Reagan, as well. Great guy, OK president [should have kept better tabs on what his subordinates were doing, and his economic policies were a mistake: trickle-up economics works better], good person, wish he hadn’t succumbed to Alzheimer’s.)

    > When the problem only has solutions that favor the same old tired leftist prescriptions they’ve
    > been trying to foist off on us for a century, it’s awful hard to take seriously the idea that the
    > problem isn’t something leftists ginned up to impose their will on the rest of us.
    Yeah, but it’s a really serious problem if it is real. And are you admitting it has no solutions that aren’t regulatory?

    If the icecaps collapse and we go out of our present ice age, then (a) you’ll clearly have been wrong, the world /was/ warming up, and (b) it’ll be too late to /do/ anything about it.

    Winter:
    > It is all because of Reductio ad Stalin:
    > [Any Subject] -> Socialists -> AGW -> Stalin -> Gulach

    Actually, it seems a religious guy going by Terry brought it up for no good reason. I think he’s nuts, too.

    ESR (in a reply to Terry):
    > I am not going to utter a long rant about inductive confirmation here and now. Suffice it to say > that if you think you have caught ne [sic – EMF] in a contradiction you are severely mistaken.

    What’s going on here, Terry, is that he’s saying he believes that the world is fundamentally /knowable/, which is something that we get evidence for every day. We can’t get proof, because this is something that is technically unprovable: no matter how much evidence in its favor there is, one piece of evidence is enough to disprove it. In other words, this is something that ESR believes without mathematical proof, but with scientific proof, which is just overwhelming evidence in favor. In other words, the universe has been found guilty of being fundamentally knowable. Sure, it’s possible that it isn’t, but any doubt thereof is unreasonable.

    ESR, is this a good summation of your views?

    (Also, it’s possible to be a good scientist and simultaneously a very religious person; one merely has to accept that religion tells man how to go to heaven, science how the heavens go, and not the other way ’round. My apologies to Cæsar Baronius.)

  194. “I think it says something that 2014-2016 were all the hottest years ever recorded, and that in the declining phase of a small solar cycle.”

    Before or after NASA – a government agency, don’t forget – cooked the books?

    “1. Nothing exists that has no free market solution.”

    Wrong. There are things that exist that have no free market solutions. You seem to forget that I am not a [Ll]ibertarian. For example, I don’t think the libertarian idea of national defense by subscription can ever work.

    But that doesn’t matter in the current discussion. You still have to prove all four tenets of the CAGW religion:
    1) The Earth’s climate is warming.
    2) The effect is global in scope.
    3) The cause is human activity.
    4) The results will be catastrophic.

    All four of these are unproven. That makes a mighty thin reed to hang the destruction of the world’s economies on, don’t you think?

  195. @Jay
    All 4 have been proven beyond reasonable doubt. Claiming all evidence is fraudulent is unreasonable doubt.

    I would like to point out that you have not proven that all data are fraudulent and there are no honest competent climate scientists.

  196. Question for the libertarians and conservatives here: when we burn stuff, such as fossil fuels, what happens with the toxic substances released as smoke? Do they somehow disappear completely, thereby having no effect on anything?

  197. Question for Jorge Dujan, are you aware how much greener the globe is with elevated levels of CO2? Do you have any concrete evidence man’s release of toxic substances approaches those released by the Earth (volcanoes)?

  198. Parrot: “But it seems you are asking for the sources, claim they are too difficult, and then claim the more popular descriptions you can understand are lies and confabulations.”

    I anticipate no difficulty with understanding Plass’ paper, once I have the full text. But your link does not provide the full text; it displays just the first of eleven pages. That’s enough to identify the author and subject, but nothing more than that.

    The other link is to a textbook of several hundred pages on Google Books, which has an interface that’s inadequate for serious study; it is impossible to find only those parts of the book which are directly relevant to the AGW hypothesis.

    So as not to waste the readers’ time, here’s some reflections on the effects life has on Earth’s climate, starting with the existence of free oxygen but by no means ending there.

  199. I submit that the AGW hysterics that Winter (et al.) are voicing in this thread (which incidentally Eric wrote about potential prejudice in the open source community) is merely part of the psychological mania that is currently raging as a result of the impending Trump presidency. Venting can be therapeutic, but raving is frequently a sign of serious psychosis.

    You may want to give it a rest and find a healthier way to relieve your stress.

  200. @Michael Brazier
    I think you are a grown up who can find his way around google and google scholar. Furthermore, you wanted sources, I gave them. I am not going to spoon feed the text.

    Plas’ paper and the text book can be found in libraries or you can buy them online. Not everything is free of charge. You ask for historical sources from half a century ago and older. They can be found at libraries.

    You can also use the reference lists in the sources I linked to. Also, there are journals covering these matters. Google Scholar will show them.

    Eventually, an increase in CO2 will be good for life on earth. But it will be pretty bad for humans. A few billion people will be forced to move due to climate change, or worse. Maybe the USA can open their borders for them? At least for the parts not drowned or deserts.

  201. @Basman
    “Do you have any concrete evidence man’s release of toxic substances approaches those released by the Earth (volcanoes)?”

    Vulcanos have at times wiped out most of higher life forms. Last time Yellowstone errupted it covered North America with a 50cm layer of ash. We should not try to emulated that level of destruction.

    And as I wrote above, we do not want life to thrive, we want humans to live. I am sure earths biosphere will be better off without humans. But I do not want to help to reach that goal.

  202. @TomA
    ” is merely part of the psychological mania that is currently raging as a result of the impending Trump presidency. ”

    I do not know where you lived in the past years, but AGW has been in the news since the 1980s.

    Btw, Trump himself said he will only admit AGW is true if the costs for the US are low. Truth for sale. Or, he knows it is true, but he won’t admit it because of the consequences.

    But it also tells us a lot about the morality of Libertarianism when externalities are involved.

  203. “But it also tells us a lot about the morality of Libertarianism when externalities are involved.”

    If you think Trump’s a libertarian, then you truly do not understand the meaning of the word.

  204. @Jay
    “If you think Trump’s a libertarian, then you truly do not understand the meaning of the word.”

    I think The Donald as we saw him during the elections is as far to the left as The Bernie. But in this quote, he repeated the opinion of the right, including the Libertarians

  205. > The behavior you describe is called fraud.

    Feynman would say that the first step in science is not fooling yourself. After that, all you have to do is be honest in the conventional sense. It is an error to confuse those two steps. A person who fails at the first is a fool. A person who fails at the second is a liar.

    > The claim is simple that AGW can be denied because all climate scientists are either corrupt or grossly incompetent. That is it. That is all there is in AGW deniers. Nothing of substance, no facts, just “they must be corrupt or incompetent, so I do not have to listen”

    Extra hilarious coming from the board’s leading abuser of the genetic fallacy.

    > I am sure earths biosphere will be better off without humans. But I do not want to help to reach that goal.

    Yawn. A leftie that hates humanity and wishes that we’d all die, but won’t start with himself. Such a cliche now that I bet this doesn’t even shock your parents any more.

  206. BassmanCO:

    …are you aware how much greener the globe is with elevated levels of CO2?

    No.

    Do you have any concrete evidence man’s release of toxic substances approaches those released by the Earth (volcanoes)?

    No, I don’t. But even if we accept that man-made pollution only matters if it exceeds that caused by volcanoes, and that that’s not currently the case, we cannot ignore that human population is growing; so there may well come a day when our toxic emissions do exceed volcanoes’, right?

    TomA:

    …the psychological mania that is currently raging as a result of the impending Trump presidency.

    Personally, I’m not glad that Trump won, but I’m glad that Clinton lost. ;-) She would have done more of the same; with Trump at least there’s a small chance that he – or his cabinet – will do something about Obamacare and/or radical Islam (he did mention the latter in his speech; let’s see if he delivers).

    You may want to give it a rest and find a healthier way to relieve your stress.

    The video I linked to above, the “Catcerto”, might help those who are stressed. But I’d recommend it to everyone, stressed or not. :-)

  207. @kjj
    “Feynman would say that the first step in science is not fooling yourself. ”

    Please feel free to take your own medicine.

    @kjj
    “Extra hilarious coming from the board’s leading abuser of the genetic fallacy.”

    Not sure what you mean here. Is this about the fact that I was the only one here who knew what “heritability” actually means?

    @kjj
    “A leftie that hates humanity and wishes that we’d all die, but won’t start with himself. ”

    Sorry, I forgot that readers here have difficulties with sarcasm and irony. My point was that I know thaf the biosphere is better of witbout humans, but that I care more about humans than about the biosphere.

    Ir is even that too complicated?

  208. > Sorry, I forgot that readers here have difficulties with sarcasm and irony. My point was that I know thaf the biosphere is better of witbout humans, but that I care more about humans than about the biosphere.

    http://catb.org/jargon/html/H/ha-ha-only-serious.html

    Or, the non-hackers might recognize this as Jon Stewart’s “Why are you punching back? Don’t you know that I’m just a comedian?”

    Since this thread is already well off the rails (remember double-patch girl?), how exactly would you go about defining “better off without humans”? Please note that this is a trap. Should you decide to walk into it, I predict that your definition will check at least one of these boxes: 1) reduces to “I hate humanity”. 2) is illogical. 3) is inconsistent. 4) is nonsense. If I were the gambling type, my money would be on the blackout.

  209. @kjj
    ” Don’t you know that I’m just a comedian?”

    That did not apply. I did not make a joke, and I wrote that I did NOT want humanity to die for the good of the biosphere. I just wrote it in a convoluted way. You just misunderstood my writing.

    @kjj
    ““better off without humans”?”

    “Better off” is a human valuation. But we can suppose living things have a “better” or “worse” state of living in ways that have features in common with humans. That is anthropomorphic, but we are now discussing a human trying to consider what would be good for the biosphere.

    In that case, the only two yardsticks I know of would be maximizing bio-diversity and living biomass. Both vaguely indicate “more living things”. A little biology tells us that both yardsticks decrease under human agriculture. Both will grow again without humans. So, in that sense, the biosphere would be better off without humans.

    @kjj
    “1) reduces to “I hate humanity”. ”
    You can love humanity and still know that humanity is bad for other living things.

    “2) is illogical. ”
    It is a moral/value judgement. Those precede logic.

    “3) is inconsistent.”
    No. You can argue about what is “better” for the biosphere, but that does not make it inconsistent. Maybe, you adhere to an ideology or religion that denies non-humans any sense of a “better” or “worse” life. But other people do not have to share that ideology or religion.

    “4) is nonsense”
    Only if you adhere to an ideology or religion that does not allow non-human living things a sense of being. That is a valid position, but very limited, and not shared by all people.

  210. Winter:

    For what it’s worth, I did understand your comment all along. I perceived no misanthropy, or any other objectionable sentiment, in it.

    Only if you adhere to an ideology or religion that does not allow non-human living things a sense of being. That is a valid position, but very limited, and not shared by all people.

    Personally, I think all beings equipped with nociceptors are worthy of at least a minimum of moral consideration. I’m not saying we should value all sentient species equally (I could accept a hierarchy based on – say – the mirror test, of which Eric is so fond), but we should at least not cause them unnecessary suffering. An example: the practice of locking chickens, hen, and pigs inside cages so small that they cannot even turn around.

  211. @Jorge
    “Personally, I think all beings equipped with nociceptors are worthy of at least a minimum of moral consideration.”

    I include more entities, but with a clear hierarchy. There is also the point of living things depending on other living things that makes picking and choosing difficult.

    But these preferences do not really matter when discussing the question whether the biosphere would be “better off” without humans.

  212. Jorge Dujan:
    > Question for the libertarians and conservatives here: when we burn stuff, such as
    > fossil fuels, what happens with the toxic substances released as smoke? Do they
    > somehow disappear completely, thereby having no effect on anything?

    You do realize that this is a *completely* different argument from CAGW, right?

    I am a Libertarian Conservative, and *really* don’t like burning Coal for power. I think it’s a HORRIBLE idea, but not because of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming, but for the very reason you note. Uranium, Thorium, mercury–lots of really nasty stuff that I don’t want in my drinking water.

    Natural Gas *largely* gets around this problem. Alcohol as a fuel (leaving aside the notion that turning food into fuel is a bad idea) is almost pollutionless, and highly refined gasoline isn’t too bad.

    But until we get good, safe nuclear reactors deployed we really don’t have much choice.

  213. > You just misunderstood my writing.

    No, you misunderstood my writing. What fun!

    > “Better off” is a human valuation.

    You saw the “Minefield ahead” sign, and yet, you just can’t resist.

    >> “1) reduces to ‘I hate humanity’.”
    > You can love humanity and still know that humanity is bad for other living things.

    You aren’t basing this on the values of the other living things, which you don’t know, and which don’t, for the most part, exist. You are instead basing this on your values, and according to your values, humans are bad. Which is where we started, making your post masturbation more than anything else.

    (Elephants and dolphins come to mind as species that might maybe be capable of having “values”. But non-human values don’t actually help you because those are both k-selected species that seem to really like having human friends.)

    Double masturbation, actually, since most of us instantly recognize and unpack the academic pseudoargument.

    >> “2) is illogical. ”
    > It is a moral/value judgement. Those precede logic.

    Check the second box. You don’t need to paraphrase my points, you can just say “yes”.

    >>“3) is inconsistent.”
    > No. You can argue about what is “better” for the biosphere, but that does not make it inconsistent. Maybe, you adhere to an ideology or religion that denies non-humans any sense of a “better” or “worse” life. But other people do not have to share that ideology or religion.

    “without humans” + “other people” = check the third box.

    >> “4) is nonsense”
    > Only if you adhere to an ideology or religion that does not allow non-human living things a sense of being. That is a valid position, but very limited, and not shared by all people.

    BINGO!

  214. @kjj
    Nice display of reactionary mental ossification. A simplistic reading of your comments suggest that you think humans have no right to value the non-human world other than in terms of their human utility. That is a well known religious dogma. One I really do not care for.

    But maybe my intellectual capabilities are failing me as I cannot follow your argunentation. So, please, give some explanations. E.g., what have j- versus k-selected species to do with this argument? And why is an argument about earth without humans inconsistent with people having different opinions about it?

    Also, the idea that moral and value judgments precede logic lies at the foundation of ethics and esthetics. Logic is value free by definition. So, what do you mean by “illogic”?

  215. @William
    “But until we get good, safe nuclear reactors deployed we really don’t have much choice.”

    We have good, safe solar cells. Nowadays, they are pretty efficidnt and cheap.

  216. “We have good, safe solar cells. Nowadays, they are pretty efficidnt and cheap.”

    Where I live, we’re forecast to get somewhere between six inches and a foot of snow this evening and tonight. Those solar cells won’t generate much electricity with that much snow on them.

    Solar is useless for baseload power, just like wind and other “renewables”. The enviro-wacko Left never seems to understand this.

  217. @Jay
    The US has ample unused arid land with almost permanent sunshine. Instead of waiting for safe and cheap nuclear power plants, fill up your deserts with solar cells.

  218. William O. B’Livion:

    You do realize that this is a *completely* different argument from CAGW, right?

    I wasn’t thinking about global warming in particular, but about (what I perceive as) the general libertarian/conservative/Objectivist attitude toward environmental matters. For example, Objectivist economist George Reisman once wrote:

    …if there were in fact to be some reduction in the ozone layer, the appropriate response … would be to be sure that there were more sunglasses, hats, and sun-tan lotion available.

    kjj:

    Excuse me, but what you’re doing doesn’t seem constructive to me. I’d say you’re confronting Winter just for the sake of confrontation. No offense, but is it really necessary?

    Winter:

    A simplistic reading of your comments suggest that you think humans have no right to value the non-human world other than in terms of their human utility.

    Well, maybe we could reconcile the two positions by distinguishing between different kinds of human utility: the non-human world is valuable to us not only because it’s got resources we can use up, but also because we can get enjoyment from contemplating it.

    Hopefully, that way of framing the issue can save us from a rabbit hole (i.e. debating about objective value vs. subjective value, and about whether altruism is possible and/or desirable).

  219. @ Winter – “The US has ample unused arid land with almost permanent sunshine.”

    FYI, the earth rotates and the sun does not shine at night. Sadly, this same sort of “scientific” attitude is what makes AGW research so problematic.

  220. @TomA
    Energy at night.

    There are solutions for that. Too many solutions to enumarate here. Just use your search engine of choice and enter: Renewable energy storage

  221. @ Winter

    As an engineer, I am well aware of the science and practicalities surrounding energy storage technologies. My quarrel with is with your assertion of “permanent sunshine” as it applies to installations on the surface of the earth. That error is a reflection of either ignorance or intentional deception. Which is it?

  222. > That error is a reflection of either ignorance or intentional deception. Which is it?

    The suggestion that there is sunshine at night is so absurd it could not possibly have been meant. The assertion is clearly that it doesn’t get cloudy.

  223. @ Random832

    Clouds (and other forms of radiation attenuation) can and do occur everywhere in the atmosphere. The use of the phrase “permanent sunshine” is an error, not a semantic faux pas.

    And just because you can read Winter’s mind doesn’t excuse that.

  224. @TomA
    “Clouds (and other forms of radiation attenuation) can and do occur everywhere in the atmosphere.”

    And the average annual energy per square meter has been measured. It amounts to something about 300W/M^2, depending on latitude. That is the parameter of interest.

    @TomA
    “The use of the phrase “permanent sunshine” is an error, not a semantic faux pas.”

    In linguistics, pragmatics to be precises, there is a concept of “cooperative principle” (search for it). This means, among others, that listeners would exclude interpretations of an utterance that are highly unlikely.

    As there is no such thing as “permanent sunshine” on the surface of the earth in the literal sense, you should take “almost permanent sunshine” as “practically always sunny”. I think that getting ~80% sunshine in Nevada comes pretty close (more in the desert). But if you disagree with such a shorthand notation, we can discuss the actual numbers of solar energy?

  225. @TomA
    “And just because you can read Winter’s mind doesn’t excuse that.”

    Most people have a theory of mind. Don’t you?

  226. @ Winter

    The abuse of language in service of memetic distortion and political indoctrination is an attack on the mental health of soft-minded individuals (See Gramsci – Marxist theorist). Your erroneous assertion of “permanent sunshine” wasn’t a test of associative thinking, it was an act of intentional disinformation designed to persuade others that solar energy is endless panacea.

  227. Someone should point out that need for energy storage installations to work around the availability problem only makes the cost-effectiveness problem worse.

  228. @TomA
    You distort my words, the word “almost” does matter, and you are using an uncooperative reading of my words. This tells me you have run out of arguments and therefore are now attacking the messenger.instead of addressing the message.

    @TomA
    “Someone should point out that need for energy storage installations to work around the availability problem only makes the cost-effectiveness problem worse.”

    So, what is the cost effectiveness? The existing estimations look rather good. So, do you have different numbers that tell us it is bad?

  229. This is going to take a while, I think…

    > (Michael until further notice) Oh dear. A young-earth creationist? Really? [i.e. Wernher Gitt]

    Can I guess why you haven’t said more on that topic? Creationists who accepted the biblical timeline invented science back in the 1500s-1700s. Charles Lyell, the first to upend that paradigm by writing “Principles of Geology”, was a lawyer fudging his facts with the specific goal of getting geology away from the Bible. Many have mistaken him for a geologist. Finally, you’ve gotten into a conversation similar to this with someone as familiar with the “evidence” supporting billions of years as I am, and it didn’t go exactly according to plan.

    > Here’s an article about Werner Gitt’s misunderstanding of Shannon’s work…

    (Link removed so I don’t get moderated status on this comment)

    Oh, God, that is a horrible web page. Not the content so much as the style, which I haven’t seen since Geocities was big.

    “According to Shannon’s theory, a disturbed signal generally contains more information than an undisturbed signal”

    Citation needed. I’m pretty sure Gitt never said such a thing.

    “This is incorrect. Gitt has fully fallen into the pitfall (see above) and is stuck.”

    Even if he is, CMI’s Royal Truman (yup, that’s his name) is not, writing about the theories of both Shannon and Gitt in “Information Theory – part 1: overview of key ideas” (J. Creation 26(3):101-103, December 2012)

    The most important take-home of Shannon’s theories is the channel capacity for a communications link (this is pretty generic, as it can mean anything from shouting across the room to writing to a RAID array just before the SHTF and then accessing the data for the first time a thousand years later.) You’re at the channel capacity when (not before), the entropy is at the maximum. Unfortunately, when the entropy is at a maximum, you have only noise and no signal, so it is asymptotically approachable, but not reachable, leading to a situation rather similar to Carnot thermal efficiency, at least in analogy (we’re also pretty close to 50% in both communications efficiency and heat->electricity conversion in the best systems available for each task …which both involve barely sub-$billion installations that dominate the landscape for a mile or two, although I haven’t heard of a DSN station melting down and causing thousands of people to be evacuated. Yet, anyway (there are a couple of fanciful novels and movies about how that could happen.)) The signal-in is the total information, including any error correction overhead. Some coding methods are more efficient than others (analog video is pretty close to the worst). Plain English, for example, is still somewhat readable with errors. Such as taking out all of the vowels ndspcstsstllbrlyrdblfyknwtshppnng.k,mybntll. If successful, the signal-out is the intended message without any errors despite the noise in the channel. This doesn’t mean there are no errors in the raw sense, but the intended message can still be reconstructed perfectly from the signal that remains because of the error correction overhead. Often it isn’t successful, and one of the most famous examples of it not being successful is Cydonia’s nostril. The infamous “face on Mars” mountain picture taken by Viking and hijacked by conspiracy nuts after the scientists made a pareidolia joke, quite accurately pointing out that one of the dead pixels in the image (there are many) just happened to be in the right spot to put a nostril on his nose. If you send the same message over and over again with such imperfection (and most genetic code operates like this: the crossover process in meiosis and HGT cuts and pastes rather big chunks of code, creating nothing at all from scratch. Mitosis is a much simpler copying process), you get replicative fading: Your copy of a copy of a copy of a copy is eventually going to look like snow (and in genetics, this would happen long, long after the organism has stopped reproducing because it can’t – i.e. the photocopy isn’t just being photocopied, so is the photocopier.)

    Nothing about this talks about the meaning of the information, only its conveyance. Similarly, Carnot’s thermodynamic theories never produced an engine, as much as they might help in measuring their merits.

    > That’s very interesting. Who’s offering the prize?

    Origin of Life Science Foundation, Inc.

    > An ill-posed question. Environments don’t create information, they just have it.

    Ah. Are you claiming that all the information necessary for the 4.5Gb human genome and the rest of Earth’s biosphere was in the vacuum of space surrounding the planet? Your explanatory power seems to be diminishing rapidly here.

    > The key here is that “information has been received” implies some consciousness (not much) in the receiver, but none at all in the transmitter.

    How does this create new features in the organism or new information in its genome? The environment adds entropy, not removing any, not even locally. This argument also has the problem of the origin of consciousness. Also, since the environment has no consciousness, it also has no intended message, which means that the receiver is decoding, well, sweet didley; he’s just trying to make it through the day.

    > If that were untrue, it would follow that because cartographers can prepare maps of the Grand Canyon, the Grand Canyon must have been deliberately excavated, and not eroded over geologic eras by a river.

    Unless you think in terms of David’s nineteenth song or similar, the Grand Canyon has no intended message. Furthermore, we are discovering from the fossils and other signs of mass destruction that the formation of the Grand Canyon destroyed far more information than it created. It also was not eroded over geologic eras by a river, it was carved by a massive runoff from an inland sea in a matter of days, weeks at most. This is why you have neo-catastrophists in the Evolution camp. Anyone positing that the river created the canyon in serious company is laughed out of the room, even if there isn’t a single creationist in it. (Well, maybe not if there are creationists in it, because they have a tendency to close ranks no matter how retarded the river-created-the-canyon guy looks in their eyes.)

    > [EMF] What’s going on here, Terry, is that he’s saying he believes that the world is fundamentally /knowable/, which is something that we get evidence for every day.

    Something that Eric and I agree on. We probably don’t agree on /why/ it’s fundamentally knowable; my why is the same why as those guys I mentioned earlier who invented science in the 16th to 18th centuries: a consistent universe created by a consistent God is fundamentally knowable. I didn’t respond because I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want to discuss it, especially since he hasn’t been.

  230. Terry: In point of fact, Lyell was not the first to propose that the Earth’s age is far more than ~6000 years. James Hutton has that honor, first publishing in 1785; Lyell built upon his work. Also, Charles Lyell was a devout Christian, so his motive for separating geology from Biblical scholarship was not discrediting the Bible. I think there are some gaps in your knowledge of the evidence.

    ” Are you claiming that all the information necessary for the 4.5Gb human genome and the rest of Earth’s biosphere was in the vacuum of space surrounding the planet?”

    No. The source of that information is the total history of Earth, from its formation up to each living organism’s birth.

    “Also, since the environment has no consciousness, it also has no intended message, which means that the receiver is decoding, well, sweet didley; he’s just trying to make it through the day.”

    The conclusion does not follow from the premise. It’s true that most things an organism encounters have no message intended for it. However, in order to survive the organism must react to the things it encounters; a mistaken reaction will cause its injury or death. Each successful response is thus a reception of a genuine message, even when (as is usually the case) no intention caused it to be sent.

    “Unless you think in terms of David’s nineteenth song or similar, the Grand Canyon has no intended message.”

    Quite right – and yet it’s possible to create a map of it; to gain information from it. Once one realizes that information can exist and be received without anyone’s deliberate intent to create it, one also sees how your original question, where the information in genomes came from, can be answered.

  231. @Terry
    You are still confusing entropy with information. This is about changes in entropy, not in information.

  232. You are still confusing entropy with information. This is about changes in entropy, not in information.

    Not that I agree with Terry here, but your Olympic-quality ignorance is showing again.

  233. > (Michael) Terry: In point of fact, Lyell was not the first to propose that the Earth’s age is far more than ~6000 years.

    I know that, but he was the first to succeed in putting an academic veneer on the idea that was widely accepted by the general public.

    > Also, Charles Lyell was a devout Christian, so his motive for separating geology from Biblical scholarship was not discrediting the Bible.

    Hmmm…

    “I conceived the idea five or six years ago [i.e. 1824 or 1825], that if ever the
    Mosaic geology could be set down without giving offence, it
    would be in an historical sketch, and you must abstract mine,
    in order to have as little to say as possible yourself. Let
    them feel it, and point the moral.”

    Sir Charles Lyell, 1830 June 14 to Poulett Scrope, Esq. in the P.S. (K.M. Lyell, _Life, Letters, and Journals of Sir Charles Lyell_, John Murray, London, 1881, vol. 1, p. 271)

    So, if discrediting the Bible was not his motive, why would he write something like the above? His letters contain a general hostility towards anything diluvian (that is, related to Noah’s Flood) in geological theories and praise and celebrate the victories in the meetings and writings of the Royal Society against the biblical geology, no matter how slight. The Bible tells us Christians to judge people according to their fruits, and this is not the fruit of a faithful believer covered in Christ’s atonement, which I have found rare in the definition of “devout Christian” to the point that the label has come to serve as a warning to me.

    > No. The source of that information is the total history of Earth, from its formation up to each living organism’s birth.

    I have no evidence to convince me that this is a valid premise. Any example or mechanism to this effect would be, by definition, an answer to the question Gillian Brown put to Richard Dawkins responded to with many seconds of dead science, followed by a request to stop the camera, and a total evasion of the question once the camera was rolling again. Do you have *anything* of that sort?

    > The conclusion does not follow from the premise. It’s true that most things an organism encounters have no message intended for it.

    AdBlock Plus ftw!

    > However, in order to survive the organism must react to the things it encounters; a mistaken reaction will cause its injury or death. Each successful response is thus a reception of a genuine message, even when (as is usually the case) no intention caused it to be sent.

    A lot of intelligence is required on the part of the organism for this to work, so much that it’s difficult to argue the information is coming from the environment. As anyone who has worked on an engineered response to natural first principles should easily realize, the consistent functioning of aerodynamics, thermodynamics, and combustion do not a jet engine create. These principles were in operation in the universe for an absolute minimum of 6946 years before very smart human engineers used them, along with some iron, titanium, aluminum, and many other elements, to create functioning jet aircraft. Does 13.781 billion more years (or however much you want to add) make a difference to the process? Of course not, because the history books document the process in considerable detail as having taken a much shorter period of time.

    Say an organism does learn that fire is bad for it, and even succeeds in communicating this to his offspring. It does absolutely nothing to the genome! The notion that the environment successfully communicates the entire genetic diversity into the organisms we see on planet Earth is contradicted by everything we know about the mechanisms of biology down to the molecular level.

    Sure, abstract reasoning can get around it, but why should I believe such navel gazing over scientific evidence?

    > (Winter) You are still confusing entropy with information. This is about changes in entropy, not in information.

    You’re the one who is confused. I see a lot of such confusion in your comments and have, for the most part, given up on trying to clear it up since you are so extremely resistant to correction. I doubt I’m the only one since I see very little direct response to your comments from others.

  234. > …responded to with many seconds of dead science…

    An error which I greeted with many seconds of self-directed laughter. That’s supposed to be “silence”, but this comment editor makes it a pain in the arse to proofread before I post.

  235. Me: “The source of that information is the total history of Earth, from its formation up to each living organism’s birth.”

    Terry: “I have no evidence to convince me that this is a valid premise. Any example or mechanism to this effect would be, by definition, an answer to the question Gillian Brown put to Richard Dawkins … Do you have *anything* of that sort?”

    Why yes, I told you already. To repeat: By surviving and reproducing, an organism establishes that it’s well-adapted to the conditions it encountered – it has been informed by its environment, both in Shannon’s sense (uncertainty has been removed and local entropy decreased) and the semantic one. Alternately, organisms that don’t survive and reproduce are also informed by their environment, though less happily.

    Given enough generations to accumulate fortunate mutations and eliminate less fortunate ones, the full contents of each species’ genomes is thus explained.

    “Say an organism does learn that fire is bad for it, and even succeeds in communicating this to his offspring. It does absolutely nothing to the genome!”

    You are thinking of animals only, I see. The capacity to learn requires a level of organization and awareness well above the genetic level. Consider plants instead; they lack that level of awareness, aren’t capable of learning in any literal sense, but do survive, reproduce and undergo mutation. That simplifies the analysis, since only the evolutionary process is at work.

    Now, supposing that fire is bad for a plant (not always true! A fair number of plant seeds need fire to germinate) the plant would “learn” this only by being consumed in flames, and would “communicate” this to its offspring only by not having any. Yet a fire that consumes one plant and spares another does affect the genome of the plants’ species; it eliminates the genes which were in the first plant’s genome and not the second’s.

    “The notion that the environment successfully communicates the entire genetic diversity into the organisms we see on planet Earth is contradicted by everything we know about the mechanisms of biology down to the molecular level.”

    You had better explain this contradiction, for it was invisible to everyone who discovered the mechanisms of molecular biology, as well as those who study those mechanisms today.

  236. @Christopher
    “Not that I agree with Terry here, but your Olympic-quality ignorance is showing again.”

    Please, enlighten me. We are talking about changes in the uncertainty in a statistical system, the gene pool. I have always been told that state was called entropy. Information was about communicating messages over a channel. As there are no messages, sender’s nor receivers in evolution, information does not seem to apply. And “negative information” is also not a concept.

  237. Terry is a manifestation of the dangers we (as a species) now face as a result of the age of affluence and it’s concomitant dearth of real hardship in daily life. Irrationality is no longer deterred by selection-based mortal consequences and the deterioration of our mental asset is ongoing. Our software is getting progressively deficient and nature is not bailing us out anymore.

  238. @TomA
    “Irrationality is no longer deterred by selection-based mortal consequences and the deterioration of our mental asset is ongoing. ”

    I am afraid you are too optimistic about the powers of natural selection. Real stupidity like human sacrifice, burning witches and heretics, blood letting as a medicine, and an aversion to washing and soap have persisted for centuries, killing people left and right and destroying whole communities.

    I am afraid that the only innoculation against stupidity is good education. And even that is not a silver bullet.

  239. > Why yes, I told you already. To repeat: By surviving and reproducing, an organism establishes that it’s well-adapted to the conditions it encountered…

    Once again, you’re passing off postulation for evidence. If you seriously can’t tell the difference between these two things, you have a serious problem. I will hear no more of this.

  240. TomA:

    …the dangers we (as a species) now face as a result of the age of affluence and it’s concomitant dearth of real hardship in daily life.

    Many people do experience hardship. Anyway, why do you worry so much about threats to our species? The Universe will eventually collapse due to entropy, so all things – living or not – are doomed anyhow. All we can do is try to enjoy the here-and-now; some people like to get drunk and get laid, whereas I play video games. It’s not so bad.

  241. Terry, your initial claim was that the standard model of evolutionary biology is incoherent, because mutations can only reduce the total of information, not add to it. That’s not an empirical claim, but a logical one. It’s akin to a famous claim (published in the New York Times) that rockets couldn’t fly in space because there’s nothing up there to push against. Such claims can be answered empirically, but are best refuted logically, by showing the errors in reasoning that led the claimer to a false conclusion.

    If you are now willing to grant that evolutionary biology is logically consistent, that genetic information can be gradually accumulated through many generations, we can proceed to empirical evidence that genetic information has been accumulated that way. But if you still persist in your original position, your business is to find a mistake in my reasoning. I won’t discuss the empirical support for a theory with someone who thinks it logically unsound.

  242. Apologies for scrolling too fast and missing the other comments.

    > (TomA) Terry is a manifestation of the dangers we (as a species) now face as a result of the age of affluence and it’s concomitant dearth of real hardship in daily life.

    You’ll have a lot of trouble backing up that claim once familiar with history: Atheism is a relatively new thing in everyday life, and for most of the planet’s population, there are real hardships in daily life. Your “manifestations” living (or who used to live) in the part of the world that is actually experiencing this “age of affluence” are more familiar with this than their contemporaries because they go on missions into these other parts of the world to preach the gospel. Some go to the other side of the world (e.g. from Calgary to Banda Aceh), some shorter distances (e.g. from Regina, Saskatchewan to La Ronge, Saskatchewan), some walking distance (e.g. from the suburbs to the RLDs of any significant North American metropolis.)

    That’s the way it is now, but what about when there was no “age of affluence”? The church ran most of the institutions now run by the state and entertainment business, so where does that put your claim? When the church is good, this is a good thing, and led to quite a few revivals even in recent times (i.e. late 19th to early 20th centuries before government took over social services.) When the church is not good, this is a bad thing and was the most direct cause of the “dark ages” (i.e. the Papacy via the Holy Roman Empire was so oppressive that affluence and technology regressed for hundreds of years. We also seem to have lost track of almost every morsel of gold Earth has in that period, along with several other rare elements we could use more of today. Documents from the period testify to thousands of bronze status on the island of Rhodes in the Greek era. We have only seen eleven of them! Ten of those were found on the same wreck as the Antikythera Mechanism, a demonstration of how much technology we lost in the dark ages.)

    Your claim also faces one last problem: It is atheism and its principles that are stunting human population growth in recent times. Christians are having more children because their more stable marriages resulting from Biblical principles and less domestic violence, casual divorce, and sexually transmitted disease result in larger families. TL;DR: Natural selection is against atheism!

    > (Winter) I am afraid that the only innoculation against stupidity is good education. And even that is not a silver bullet.

    Indeed. Am I doing a half-decent job demonstrating that here?

    > (TomA) Irrationality is no longer deterred by selection-based mortal consequences and the deterioration of our mental asset is ongoing.

    This sounds like something a CMI or SDA speaker would say to describe the rise of modern atheism!

    > (Michael) You had better explain this contradiction, for it was invisible to everyone who discovered the mechanisms of molecular biology, as well as those who study those mechanisms today.

    TomA, look at this demonstration here. Michael is clearly unaware of how many molecular biologists (and scientists of every field) are Christian, even creationists who accept the Biblical timeline. I am also quite certain it would be to his brain like water on a duck’s back if I took the trouble to show him. Things are going slow enough under this post that I’ll risk a moderation delay to post a link to CMI’s list: http://creation.com/creation-scientists

  243. > (Michael) Such claims can be answered empirically, but are best refuted logically, by showing the errors in reasoning that led the claimer to a false conclusion.

    I disagree. There’s a Christian apologist named Sye Ten Bruggencate who takes this approach to an extreme and regularly gets his ass kicked in debates with atheists. To your example, Goddard put a with a blank in an evacuated bell jar, which seemed to have been more persuasive than Newton’s Third Law to most people! Now, in your case…

    > (Michael) If you are now willing to grant that evolutionary biology is logically consistent

    It is, just like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter (“Magic has rules”), but that doesn’t make it consistent with reality. (I.e. I consider Evolution to be logically consistent but not logically sound because its premises come from a fantasy.) I am well aware of what Evolution is supposed to do, my point is that it never does those things in the real world. So far, you have done absolutely nothing to refute this claim, always returning to your dog’s breakfast of abstract reasoning (<– comment is based on a Bible verse.)

  244. Just to clear up a possible confusion, Terry – I follow St. Thomas Aquinas. You may possibly have heard of him. As far as I’m concerned there is no conflict between evolutionary biology and Christian doctrine.

    “I am well aware of what Evolution is supposed to do, my point is that it never does those things in the real world.”

    In that case we can descend to cases. As Exhibit A I present: antibiotic resistance in bacteria.

  245. @Terry
    “It is atheism and its principles that are stunting human population growth in recent times. ”

    The more affluent the prople, the less children the have. That has been the rule in demographics for all of history. That was true in the 19th century when eugenetics was born and that was true in Roman times.

    Atheism has nothing to do with it.

  246. @ Jorge Dugan – “Anyway, why do you worry so much about threats to our species?”

    Because I’m privy to the output of modeling that appears to have efficacy. Global memetic transformation is happening in real-time and re-engineering of the human genome is now in its infancy. The historically slow process of evolution is giving way to change at hyper-speed. It’s a bit like rolling out a major OS rev without any beta testing.

  247. > Just to clear up a possible confusion, Terry – I follow St. Thomas Aquinas. You may possibly have heard of him. As far as I’m concerned there is no conflict between evolutionary biology and Christian doctrine.

    I’ve also heard of Dr. Hugh Ross and Dr. Francis Collins. So what?

    “I think the evangelical Christians have really sort of got it right in a way, in seeing evolution as the enemy. Whereas the more – what shall we say – sophisticated theologians, who are quite happy to live with evolution: I think they are deluded. I think the evangelicals have got it right, in that there really is a deep incompatibility between evolution and Christianity.” – Dr. Clinton Richard Dawkins to Howard Condor, live on Revelation TV 2006 January 16.

    I don’t follow any of these people, I follow Jesus Christ, who expected everyone he spoke with to accept a literal six day creation and literal Noah’s Flood. The Gospel counts on Adam’s sin being the cause of death. Everyone at CMI sees it, a heck of a lot of people who have been at CMI’s presentations or seen their material sees it, and most, if not all, of the atheists I’ve seen present their case against the Bible see it. And out of the blue, you mention (not cite) a thirteenth century Catholic monk and expect me to do anything but laugh? Appeal to authority fallacy?

    > In that case we can descend to cases. As Exhibit A I present: antibiotic resistance in bacteria.

    “More commonly, resistance arises through mutational
    defects that cause the inactivation of genes which control
    transport through the cell membrane.”
    – Dr. Carl Wieland, M.D. Antibiotic Resistance in Bacteria, J. Creation 8(1) pp. 5, 1994 March.

    Also known is the mechanism of penicillinase, an enzyme which breaks down penicillin. Since this antibiotic (and other ?-lactam antibiotics) attacks the bacteria wall before even reaching the membrane, it isn’t subject to membrane transport protein effects. But the mutation that makes bacteria resistant to it is one in the regulator gene for penicillinase production, allowing it to race out of control (black people have a similar mutation related to melanin, the human skin pigment.) In the wild, these bacteria are at a disadvantage because they are making penicillinase instead of other useful enzymes.

  248. “?-lactam” was beta-lactam – I actually put the Greek letter there like they do in monographs. I guess ibiblio didn’t like it.

  249. Terry, the reference to Aquinas was merely to inform you that you are not debating an atheist – though Aquinas did say that “one should not try to defend the Christian faith with arguments that are so patently opposed to reason that the faith is made to look ridiculous…”

    I will also mention that Richard Dawkins knows a great deal about biology, but almost nothing about Christianity; his opinions on a supposed conflict between the two are nearly worthless.

    Finally – would you care to explain what an explication of the mechanism behind antibiotic resistance has to do with how such resistance appears and becomes prevalent in strains of bacteria exposed to antibiotics? How one of an organism’s features works, and how it came to exist and spread through the organism’s species, are separate and unrelated questions. Evolutionary biology addresses only the second, leaving the first to other branches of science.

  250. > (Michael unless noted otherwise) Terry, the reference to Aquinas was merely to inform you that you are not debating an atheist

    Hmm… What does Cornell University Professor William Provine think of that?

    “Of course, it is still possible to believe in both modern evolutionary biology and a purposive force, even the Judeo-Christian God. One can suppose that God started the whole universe or works through the laws of nature (or both). There is no contradiction between this or similar views of God and natural selection.” (Academe January 1987 pp. 51-52)

    So far, so good, right? Same quote continues:

    “But this view of God is also worthless. Called Deism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and considered equivalent to atheism then, it is no different now. A God or purposive force that merely starts the universe or works thought the laws of nature has nothing to do with human morals, answers no prayers, gives no life everlasting, in fact does nothing whatsoever that is detectable. In other words, religion is compatible with modern evolutionary biology (and indeed all of modern science) if the religion is effectively indistinguishable from atheism.”

    TL;DR: You can’t be a “saved” or “born again” Christian covered in the atonement of Jesus Christ and have a view of God that is compatible with Evolution. Most atheists agree on this! There are also more than a few raised Christian, converted to atheism by Evolution, and converted back to Christ who had the same experience Dawkins described to Condor.

    Professor William Provine 12 years later:

    “As the creationists claim, belief in modern evolution makes atheists of people. One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism.” – (“No Free Will”, pp. S123 of Catching Up With The Vision, Margaret W. Rossiter (ed.), Chicago University Press, 1999)

    Perhaps I’m not debating with an atheist, but I am debating with atheism. I would still maintain that if you were my pastor and holding the views you describe.

    > I will also mention that Richard Dawkins knows a great deal about biology, but almost nothing about Christianity; his opinions on a supposed conflict between the two are nearly worthless.

    Did you miss this part?

    > (Terry) The Gospel counts on Adam’s sin being the cause of death. Everyone at CMI sees it, a heck of a lot of people who have been at CMI’s presentations or seen their material sees it, and most, if not all, of the atheists I’ve seen present their case against the Bible see it.

    Would you like me to quote some of these other people instead? I mean, in addition to William Provine? Do you need ten quotes? A hundred? I might even be able to find a thousand.

    > Finally – would you care to explain what an explication of the mechanism behind antibiotic resistance has to do with how such resistance appears and becomes prevalent in strains of bacteria exposed to antibiotics?

    Certainly, and I already have several times, even with specific simple samples breaking English sentences: It is easy to break a gene, and there have always been antibiotic resistant bacteria. They simply can’t compete in an environment without enough antibiotics to select for them. Antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria were found in the frozen bodies of Sir John Franklin’s 1845-1848 arctic expedition. Eighty years, five months, and three days after the last survivor’s final log entry, Sir Ambrose Fleming discovered, not invented, the first antibiotic.

    Would you care to explain how all this is evidence for universal common ancestry or prokaryotes-to-professors Evolution?

    > How one of an organism’s features works, and how it came to exist and spread through the organism’s species, are separate and unrelated questions.

    Why thank you, my friend. This is a flat denial that “Exhibit A: antibiotic resistance in bacteria” is evidence of Evolution.

    > Evolutionary biology addresses only the second, leaving the first to other branches of science.

    To be unkind, “Evolutionary biology” vs. actual biology! To be somewhat more kind, historical or origins biology (i.e. Evolution) vs. operational or experimental biology, the same sort of distinction made by atheist Ernst Mayr that later Evolutionists like Bill Nye hate when Biblical creationists like Ken Ham quote him. (If you’re not familiar with it, the Nye vs. Ham debate on “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?” is well worth the two and a half hours. After you’re done watching it, I’ll be happy to point out errors perpetuated by Bill Nye in that debate that would flunk him out of Grade 3 (8-9yo educational year in my locale).)

    (Where I capitalize “Evolution”, it is to distinguish between ordinary biological happenings in evidence which biblical creationists and philosophical naturalists (atheist and otherwise) usually agree on, which are often called “evolution” (along with many non-biological processes), and “Evolution”, the descent of all organisms on Earth from a common ancestor. Equivocation fallacy over these definitions is a daily occurrence in conversations like these.)

    > (Winter) The more affluent the prople, the less children the have.

    While true, it is also true that the highest rates of suicide are at the highest levels of affluence. When affluence is measured as well, the Christian basis of faith is also found to be a real factor, i.e. Christians have more children than non-Christians at the same level of affluence. Water off a duck’s back to you I’m sure.

  251. @Terry
    “Christians have more children than non-Christians at the same level of affluence.”

    Probably and likely (holds too for other faiths). But this is not Atheist versus Religion. This is particular religious factions against the rest. Anyhow, this still means that affluent Christians will have less children than poor atheists. And very religious countries will still get below replacement fertility when they get more affluent.

    In the end, religion is only a small factor in determining fertility. For one thing, education and ignorance are much more important, especially in women. However these influences are difficult to disentangle as these factors are all strongly correlated.

  252. Terry: William Provine, whoever he may be, is simply wrong. Affirming that God normally works through natural laws (“second causes” in older language) is not deism but common sense – miracles are rare. Like all natural sciences, evolutionary biology describes the normal course of events.

    “You can’t be a “saved” or “born again” Christian covered in the atonement of Jesus Christ and have a view of God that is compatible with Evolution.”

    I need only point to Pope John Paul II, who said in his 1996 address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences:

    “Today … some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than an hypothesis. In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies—which was neither planned nor sought—constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.”

    Terry: “The Gospel counts on Adam’s sin being the cause of death.”

    The Gospel says that Adam’s sin is the cause of human death. On the cause of death in other species, it is silent.

    Back to antibiotic resistance. You have discussed only penicillin and other beta-lactin antibiotics, many of which occur naturally. How do you explain the appearance of resistance to antibiotic classes which are produced only by artificial synthesis, such as the sulfonamides?

    “Where I capitalize “Evolution”, it is to distinguish between ordinary biological happenings in evidence which biblical creationists and philosophical naturalists (atheist and otherwise) usually agree on, which are often called “evolution” (along with many non-biological processes), and “Evolution”, the descent of all organisms on Earth from a common ancestor.”

    Oh, if that’s what you’re arguing against – I have a much simpler argument.

    Consider that every form or life on Earth, without exception, uses not just the same structures to store genetic information and make proteins from it (DNA to RNA to proteins) but the same encoding. And this encoding is basically arbitrary; there’s nothing in the chemical properties of any of the molecules involves which forces one triple of nucleotides to mean one amino acid. There is, thus, every reason to suppose that if life developed in two or more places independently, the encoding of one system would be different from that of another. Yet no second encoding system has ever been found. Hence all living things on Earth have an ancestor in common.

  253. > Terry: William Provine, whoever he may be, is simply wrong.

    I am now disillusioned that you have read more widely than I have.

    > Affirming that God normally works through natural laws (“second causes” in older language) is not deism but common sense – miracles are rare.

    Exactly. That’s why they are miracles. If events which transcend natural law such as God can perform were so commonplace that they would contravene the understanding of natural laws, we would live in an irrational universe and science would be impossible. That’s why for every Daniel who survived the lions’ den there are thousands who were eaten by lions in Rome and why for every Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah who were delivered from fiery death there are thousands who burned at the stake.

    > I need only point to Pope John Paul II…

    Since the Christians of the Reform era and the Seventh Day Adventists (as well as many others, although more quietly) hold the view that the papal lineage and all members thereof (including John Paul II) are the literal antichrist prophesied in the Bible, you’ll need more than that. Your quote is part of their case.

    > The Gospel says that Adam’s sin is the cause of human death.

    Since the CHLCA is supposed to be around 7.5 million years ago, dying and being naturally selected, and proper humans 200,000 years ago, dying and being naturally selected, and Adam and Eve only 6000 years ago first causing human death, there is still a major problem with this view.

    > On the cause of death in other species, it is silent.

    Poppycock! Read Romans 8:20-22. If you take that for silence, you are deaf!

    > Back to antibiotic resistance. You have discussed only penicillin and other beta-lactin antibiotics, many of which occur naturally.

    Can you not read? I discussed the other types of antibiotics first!

    > Consider that every form or life on Earth, without exception, uses not just the same structures to store genetic information and make proteins from it (DNA to RNA to proteins) but the same encoding.

    Therefore Ubuntu evolved from Windows. They both use x86, no? Using such argumentation, I could posit that a whole bunch of things that are clearly unrelated by ancestry or even human derivation have Evolved naturally! Both my coffee maker and my computer use #1 Phillips head screws: therefore they had a common ancestor! My Harley and my Humvee use the same grade of gasoline: they had a common ancestor! Hopefully these positions (which I don’t take seriously, I do want to be clear on that) sound as silly in your ears as yours does in mine, and hopefully you can understand why.

    > And this encoding is basically arbitrary; there’s nothing in the chemical properties of any of the molecules involves which forces one triple of nucleotides to mean one amino acid.

    And that is a problem for Evolution. Did you know that computers once had strange non-power-of-two word lengths? This practice ended by design. You have presented no argument why natural Evolution should select for consistent three-base codons by any other means. As for consistent encoding and consistent chemistry (to the extent of consistent amino acid chirality), at least half of our food would be essentially encrypted, incompatible with our chemistry, and therefore toxic. (This is why some things, e.g. snake venom, are toxic to us, which is caused by the aforementioned broken gene mutation effect by the way.) As an Evolutionist, I would expect and predict that natural selection would select for this, and that a lineage of compatible food organisms would be consumed and incompatible ones survive, and therefore at least half of the naturally occurring plants and animals we could eat for food would be toxic. An extension of that would be a complete lack of animals, as none can survive without eating plants at least indirectly! As a Biblical creationist, I expect and predict that most, but not all, of the plants and animals we could eat for food would be compatible and not toxic. The latter is what we have.

    > Yet no second encoding system has ever been found. Hence all living things on Earth have an ancestor in common.

    And why shouldn’t that be Yahweh creating them all exactly as described in the first chapter of Genesis?

    Also, if you look above the level of amino acid codons, we do have more than one encoding system, just as x86 computers have more than one operating system. Most bacteria (and organelles which have their own DNA, such as mitochondria) encode their proteins as single strings, while most multicellular organisms encode their proteins as a series of exons, such that one protein requires several exons and one exon may be used in many different proteins. Is this something you would expect to find if bacteria and humans had a common ancestor?

  254. Terry: “Since the CHLCA is supposed to be around 7.5 million years ago, dying and being naturally selected, and proper humans 200,000 years ago, dying and being naturally selected, and Adam and Eve only 6000 years ago first causing human death, there is still a major problem with this view.”

    What leads you to believe that Adam and Eve lived only 6,000 years ago, and not 200,000? In fact, what leads you to think that any event in Genesis can be given a fixed date?

    “Read Romans 8:20-22. If you take that for silence, you are deaf!”

    Romans 8 is about the role of the Holy Spirit in the Christian soul. The word translated as “creation” in 8:19-22, ktisis, is often used in other NT passages to refer to the Gentile nations, that is, to human beings. Interpreting it here to mean the irrational part of the universe would impute to Paul a digression to matters irrelevant to his chosen topic.

    This is not true exegesis, but merely the exhibition of proof-texts, taken out of context and distorted.

    “Therefore Ubuntu evolved from Windows. They both use x86, no?”

    Not a comparable situation. There are CPU designs that don’t use the x86 instruction set.

    “You have presented no argument why natural Evolution should select for consistent three-base codons by any other means.”

    Naturally not, for there is none. A consistent encoding scheme is a prerequisite for evolutionary theory; there can be no evolution without a fixed means of storing, copying and interpreting information.

    “As an Evolutionist, I would expect and predict that natural selection would select for this, and that a lineage of compatible food organisms would be consumed and incompatible ones survive, and therefore at least half of the naturally occurring plants and animals we could eat for food would be toxic.”

    You have quite mistaken my argument. It’s precisely the fact that there are no lineages of organisms incompatible with our own which proves the common origin of all life on Earth. If there were any organisms that used the right-handed isomers of amino acids, or built proteins out of a different set of amino acids that ours, that would prove a polygenic origin of life.

    Incidentally, actual toxins in nature aren’t the result of such fundamental incompatibility as this. They work by assaulting the integrity of cell membranes, or by blocking the synthesis of critical enzymes. Moreover, the isomers of amino acids are not toxic at all, merely indigestible.

    “And why shouldn’t that be Yahweh creating them all exactly as described in the first chapter of Genesis?”

    Genesis 1 does not explain how God made the various things in the universe; it states only that He did so. You are, I trust, aware that Augustine of Hippo held that the six “days” of Genesis 1 are not literal periods of twenty-four hours, but a logical and topical classification; and that he also held that the variety of living species were initially created as seminal patterns, which developed over time into actual organisms. While this does not reach the Darwinian account, it’s perfectly compatible with an evolution of organisms over billions of years.

    “Most bacteria (and organelles which have their own DNA, such as mitochondria) encode their proteins as single strings, while most multicellular organisms encode their proteins as a series of exons, such that one protein requires several exons and one exon may be used in many different proteins. Is this something you would expect to find if bacteria and humans had a common ancestor?”

    Certainly. To use your own simile, simple operating systems require the data and instructions for a program to be kept completely in working memory, while more sophisticated ones implement virtual memory to allow programs to be swapped between working memory and an auxiliary cache. And every OS with virtual memory was first implemented as an extension of an OS without that feature. Where is the difficulty?

  255. Terry: “f events which transcend natural law such as God can perform were so commonplace that they would contravene the understanding of natural laws, we would live in an irrational universe and science would be impossible. ”

    s/so commonplace/possible/

    A deity that can perform miracles renders the universe irrational and unknowable.

  256. > (Michael unless otherwise noted) What leads you to believe that Adam and Eve lived only 6,000 years ago, and not 200,000? In fact, what leads you to think that any event in Genesis can be given a fixed date?

    Arithmetic. I first added up the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 when I was twelve. I was unwittingly following the work of James Ussher in the 17th century who wrote a book on the topic. There are some uncertainties due to the strange way Hebrews count years at times, so “fixed date” is exaggerating the point, but there is no way to stretch those uncertainties even to the 7000 year mark, let alone 200k or 4.5M years.

    It sounds to me like you’re just trying to turn this into a rabbit trail and can’t actually argue against this point. Would you please not do that? I find it very annoying.

    > Romans 8 is about the role of the Holy Spirit in the Christian soul. The word translated as “creation” in 8:19-22, ktisis, is often used in other NT passages to refer to the Gentile nations, that is, to human beings. Interpreting it here to mean the irrational part of the universe would impute to Paul a digression to matters irrelevant to his chosen topic.

    I don’t believe it does, since it is extremely common for someone speaking on a topic to describe its wider context. That’s exactly what Paul is doing and I’m pretty sure “ktisis” was translated with that in mind. The world of “Gentile nations” doesn’t appear to fit the description in the passage, i.e. “For the earnest expectation of the Gentile waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the Gentile was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the Gentile himself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole Gentile world groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” doesn’t make much sense. I can think of quite a few Gentiles who would be offended, and who would hold up such a passage as proof of error in the Bible.

    In Genesis 1:31, which could not have been more than seven thousand years ago, God calls his creation “very good”. Does that include death and suffering of animals? Based on Isaiah 11:6-7, it doesn’t seem to.

    > Not a comparable situation.

    I’m attempting to show the fallacy of your argument with other situations in which it could be used, and provided far less “comparable” examples to show that as well. The lack of “comparable” in these situations strengthens my claim that your argument is fallacious. At least to me.

    > You have quite mistaken my argument. It’s precisely the fact that there are no lineages of organisms incompatible with our own which proves the common origin of all life on Earth.

    I haven’t mistaken anything. I’m saying your argument is not valid and showing you why I am thus convinced. You’re also using confusing terms: we are both arguing for a “common origin of all life on Earth.” However, you’re arguing for universal common ancestry (our ultimate forefather is an abiogenetic prokaryote), while I’m arguing that God created all life on Earth. The latter common origin is more consistent with the compatibility of all organisms on Earth. The reason why it is not consistent with universal common ancestry and descent into complex variety only by means of natural processes is that one of those natural processes is racemization. The homochirality of nearly all amino acids in the ecology points to a “very good” (Gen 1:31) design messed up by the curse of sin later, producing deadly exceptions to this homochirality.

    > Incidentally, actual toxins in nature aren’t the result of such fundamental incompatibility as this. They work by assaulting the integrity of cell membranes, or by blocking the synthesis of critical enzymes. Moreover, the isomers of amino acids are not toxic at all, merely indigestible.

    That doesn’t get down to the molecular level we have begun studying, such as why the work by assaulting the integrity of cell membranes or any other example of how they jam up molecular biology. The word “indigestible” is an extremely poor choice to describe an inert amino acid isomer, as such an isomer (and even big enough peptides to provoke an immune response – such is part of the cause of Type I Diabetes) can be broken down by the stomach and absorbed through the intestines into the blood. Cluttering up the interior of cells with such junk will have a toxic effect, if only a mild one, because of the inability of them to latch onto tRNA and other enzymes able to use or dispose of them. They will block the action of such tRNA looking for the proper amino acids just by being in the way. That’s not counting their tendency to inappropriately attach themselves where they are not welcome, which is how snake “saliva” became snake “venom”.

    > You are, I trust, aware that Augustine of Hippo held that the six “days” of Genesis 1 are not literal periods of twenty-four hours…

    Where did you get that nonsense? I’m getting lazy and trust that Dr. Jonathan Sarfati should be able to set you straight on what Augustine of Hippo believed about Genesis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2v5AsHg7R2I&t=42m40s

    > but a logical and topical classification; and that he also held that the variety of living species were initially created as seminal patterns, which developed over time into actual organisms.

    I’m not going to take your word for that, especially since I’ve found problems with every other quote you take from Christendom. (I’m actually quite certain it’s wrong, I just can’t wreck it at the moment because I don’t find Augustine of Hippo interesting enough to know his work so well.)

    As for six “figurative” days matching the history according to Darwin (which is quite impossible because Genesis 1 hammers home the point that the days are literal evening-and-morning 24 hour days three different ways, including that the figurative day, first seen in Genesis 2:4, is a different word in Hebrew!), the order of events is all wrong. Big bang cosmology holds that light came before matter, yet in Genesis, the earth was made before light. Accretion theory holds that stars formed before the planets, but Earth was made before the stars. Genesis holds that God made the plants of the Earth before he made the stars! Evolution holds that fish came before land creatures and land creatures evolved into birds, yet in Genesis, the fish and birds were both made before the land creatures. This is from memory, I haven’t looked up any charts prior to this point, but I do remember that Sarfati addresses it earlier in the video I linked before. …and I spent more time trying to find CMI’s illustrated chart than I did typing that before I gave up.

    > Certainly. To use your own simile, simple operating systems require the data and instructions for a program to be kept completely in working memory, while more sophisticated ones implement virtual memory to allow programs to be swapped between working memory and an auxiliary cache.

    Hmm… The exon structure of DNA protein coding is data compression, and we use similar algorithms in our own computers. And you compare it to operating system memory management. That actually is an invalid comparison, and we are talking too close to the mechanisms of how such things operate for you to use the same defense as I did earlier. There’s a Dr. Robert Carter who can explain to you how the human genome features working and virtual memory. (He doesn’t talk much about the simplest examples: the human erythrocytes and adipocytes which rip the “computer” out completely to make more room for hemoglobin and oil, respectively.)

    Can I cut just a piece of the final chapter in at this point: I am firmly convinced that my position of biblical creationism is defensible from logic, reason, and scientific and historical evidence, and am trying to convince you of this. (Eric believes that I am literally insane for holding this position, but hasn’t made the slightest effort to explain the logic of such a belief.) I am also firmly convinced that Evolution is not so defensible and you are trying to convince me that it is. It is theoretically possible to dislodge me from my position through a discussion of this sort (dislodging me from my basis of faith would take somewhat more than that, but this is the biggest step to doing that anyone could take.) Is it similarly possible to change your position on Evolution? Is it theoretically possible to at least convince you that Evolution is not compatible with the Christian basis of faith?

  257. > (Jay Maynard) A deity that can perform miracles renders the universe irrational and unknowable.

    Oops. I wanted to at least thank you for sticking around and reading all this stuff. (Actual interlude: Somehow my fingers malfunctioned in a so-far unique way and typographically transformed “this” into “shit” while I was typing “this stuff” a minute ago. It took that minute to stop laughing at myself.)

    I disagree that a God who “can” perform miracles renders the universe irrational and unknowable, only that a God who would do so on a regular basis would have such an effect on the universe. (I think it would be funny to learn of a scientist regularly prays before his experiments begin that a miracle would not occur.) Comparing the atheists’ narrative (i.e. Evolution) to our understanding of science does require miracles on a common schedule, the most obvious of which is abiogenesis (“chemical evolution” in some circles), a miraculous breaching of Louis Pasteur’s Law of Biogenesis, a scientific law that has resisted disproof for centuries. The same atheists would deny documented breaches of the Law of Biogenesis in the form of resurrections, both biblical and otherwise. I find this inconsistency amusing.

  258. Me: “In fact, what leads you to think that any event in Genesis can be given a fixed date?”

    Terry: “Arithmetic. I first added up the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 when I was twelve. I was unwittingly following the work of James Ussher in the 17th century who wrote a book on the topic.”

    As I supposed. James Ussher, like other Biblical scholars before him, assumed that the genealogies in Genesis are complete, skipping no generations between the persons named. However, that’s not a valid assumption – genealogies in other parts of the Bible do omit generations. See “Primeval Chronology” by William Henry Green for details.

    “The world of “Gentile nations” doesn’t appear to fit the description in the passage, i.e. [Romans 8:19-22, with “creation” glossed as “Gentiles”] doesn’t make much sense.”

    It makes excellent sense to me – and also to John Gill, a theologian you will find much more congenial than any Catholic.

    “In Genesis 1:31 … God calls his creation “very good”. Does that include death and suffering of animals? Based on Isaiah 11:6-7, it doesn’t seem to.”

    Isaiah 11 is a prophecy of the Messiah – a prediction of the future, not a description of the past.

    Me: “You are, I trust, aware that Augustine of Hippo held that the six “days” of Genesis 1 are not literal periods of twenty-four hours, but a logical and topical classification;”

    Terry: “Where did you get that nonsense?”

    Augustine’s On the Literal Meaning of Genesis. It’s not as well-known as the Confessions or The City of God, but English translations are available.

    “I’m not going to take your word for that, especially since I’ve found problems with every other quote you take from Christendom. (I’m actually quite certain it’s wrong, I just can’t wreck it at the moment because I don’t find Augustine of Hippo interesting enough to know his work so well.)”

    I am now disillusioned that you have read more widely than I have.

    “However, you’re arguing for universal common ancestry (our ultimate forefather is an abiogenetic prokaryote), while I’m arguing that God created all life on Earth. The latter common origin is more consistent with the compatibility of all organisms on Earth.”

    Let’s be more exact. Your position is that every species of living organisms was created separately by God, each by a distinct miracle; you account for the common genetic encoding of all these species as evidence that God wished them all to be compatible.

    The problem with this is that it’s a profusion of miracles – literally millions of them. As you have already conceded, so large a number of miracles would make the universe basically irrational and unknowable; biology would become a complete mystery to us. The only reason to take this position is to preserve the chronology of James Ussher – which, as I just explained, was based on a false assumption, and doesn’t need to be preserved.

    Charles Darwin’s theory, by contrast, requires at most one miracle (the original abiogenesis) and a timespan of around a billion years, which the known age of the Earth readily allows for. It is thus a far more economical assumption.

    “Is it theoretically possible to at least convince you that Evolution is not compatible with the Christian basis of faith?”

    It isn’t just that the evidence for evolution by natural selection is quite strong. The evidence from the Bible for young-earth creationism is in fact quite weak, based on disputable interpretations. I see no reason to suppose that the statement “the universe was created c. 4000 BC” is part of the Christian faith in the first place.

    So – if the evidence, from biology and theology, were other than I know it to be, I could be persuaded to agree with you. Given how matters actually stand, though …

  259. Terry: “I disagree that a God who “can” perform miracles renders the universe irrational and unknowable, only that a God who would do so on a regular basis would have such an effect on the universe.”

    Sorry. That miracles are possible means that there’s no assurance that the scientifically derived explanation of anything is in fact correct. Scientific theories lose their predictive power when miracles are introduced. How do you know something didn’t happen because $DEITY decided to figuratively snap his fingers and make it happen?

    “Comparing the atheists’ narrative (i.e. Evolution) to our understanding of science does require miracles on a common schedule, the most obvious of which is abiogenesis (“chemical evolution” in some circles), a miraculous breaching of Louis Pasteur’s Law of Biogenesis, a scientific law that has resisted disproof for centuries.”

    To this, I have only two words to say: Michelson-Morely.

    Experimental results trump theory every time.

  260. > (Michael unless noted otherwise) See “Primeval Chronology” by William Henry Green for details.

    Ah, from 123 years ago. You could have easily looked up far more recent discussions on that paper by CMI and other organizations full of scholars who have only about, oh two or three thousand more manuscripts to go on, most of which are about a thousand years older than the oldest ones he had available to him. I’m going to totally ignore this.

    > It makes excellent sense to me

    But not to me…

    > Isaiah 11 is a prophecy of the Messiah – a prediction of the future, not a description of the past.

    …this is why. Why should the world be so nice in Isaiah 11, yet death and suffering called “very good” in Genesis 1? Pretty much everyone I’ve listened and talked to believes the Isaiah prophecy to be an Edenic allusion. The fossil record has animals literally in the process of eating each other, living with bone cancer and other serious medical issues, and in your worldview it all has to be before Adam’s sin. It just doesn’t stack.

    > Let’s be more exact. Your position is that every species of living organisms was created separately by God

    Nope. You can look up baraminology on your own for the actual position of creationists. I recommend using DuckDuckGo to escape your filter bubble, otherwise, you will get biased results.

    > you account for the common genetic encoding of all these species as evidence that God wished them all to be compatible.

    This we can agree on.

    > The problem with this is that it’s a profusion of miracles – literally millions of them. As you have already conceded, so large a number of miracles would make the universe basically irrational and unknowable…

    According to the creation account in Genesis, we are the last such miracle! So, we’re not around to observe and experiment for most of the first six days, and once we are around, things are settled enough that God immediately asks the first man to name every animal he can see. A similar stunt for a creationist is pleading that it is unreasonable to believe in the big bang because inflation cosmology is basically irrational and unknowable, which it is, since it requires space to expand at some 10^30 times the speed of light. The difference is whether a God is available to perform the miracle and whether one accepts the Biblical account of creation as written. There are better reasons to believe big bang/inflation cosmology is totally broken. In either case, the universe settles down so we can know it, see? If you want to use that argument, so can I. If mine would have no sway on you, why should the converse be true?

    > Charles Darwin’s theory, by contrast, requires at most one miracle (the original abiogenesis) and a timespan of around a billion years, which the known age of the Earth readily allows for. It is thus a far more economical assumption.

    In order to seriously believe that, you need to be just as ignorant regarding biology, molecular biology, genetics, the fossil record, and other evidences as he was. He was already wilfully ignorant about a lot of the evidence in front of him, but most of what we now have was simply unavailable in his time. How much more wilful does Brazier need to be than Darwin? As we have already discussed, to get even the slightest bit of novel function out of an existing gene by mutating it is practically impossible and has never been observed in nature, but by contrast, we have recognized and observed plenty of broken genes, some of which are broken in every human individual on Earth. (Not just in humans either; you seem like one likely to confuse that issue.) Abiogenesis is not the only miracle Darwin requires, it’s merely the most remarkable of several hundred billion miracles required for our ecosystem to be constructed from chemical noise.

    > It isn’t just that the evidence for evolution by natural selection is quite strong. The evidence from the Bible for young-earth creationism is in fact quite weak, based on disputable interpretations.

    If that’s still your conviction at this point, my trying to convince you otherwise is a WOMBAT to the point that Eric should add it to the Jargon File as an example of a WOMBAT.

    > (Jay Maynard) Sorry. That miracles are possible means that there’s no assurance that the scientifically derived explanation of anything is in fact correct. Scientific theories lose their predictive power when miracles are introduced.

    Rubbish. If what you’re saying is correct, it would be pointless to teach students physics according to the classical laws of Newton because of the effects of relativity. Have Newton’s laws of motion and Kepler’s laws of orbits lost their predictive power?

    My argument remains that just because God has the ability to intervene in the universe He created, that universe need not lose its rationality.

    > (Jay Maynard) To this, I have only two words to say: Michelson-Morely.

    If that’s a joke, I’m not getting it. If it’s not a joke, we’re having a discussion about Evolution, not a contest to see who can come up with the most irrelevant citation for the discussion. (At least I’m not. If that’s what it has become, I’d like to forfeit now.)

  261. “My argument remains that just because God has the ability to intervene in the universe He created, that universe need not lose its rationality.”

    The problem is that it becomes impossible to determine whether something happened because of an explainable cause, or because of a miracle.

    I cited Michelson-Morely because I had a brain fart. What I meant to cite was Miller-Urey, which demonstrated that organic molecules could have formed from inorganic precursors.

  262. @Jay
    “The problem is that it becomes impossible to determine whether something happened because of an explainable cause, or because of a miracle.”

    But that is the whole point of Creationism: Science should not be allowed to question bible interpretations just because these interpretations fly in the face of reality. Every bible interpretation, however irrational, can be “explained” by a miracle.

    Evolution is just the current target of Creationists. The real aim is to discredit, or even outlaw, science as a source of informed decision making.

  263. Terry: “Ah, from 123 years ago. You could have easily looked up far more recent discussions on that paper by CMI and other organizations full of scholars who have only about, oh two or three thousand more manuscripts to go on, most of which are about a thousand years older than the oldest ones he had available to him. I’m going to totally ignore this.”

    Sorry, no. You don’t get to ignore an argument against your main thesis merely by waving at a pile of recently discovered manuscripts. You have to demonstrate that all the examples of omitted names in Biblical genealogies listed in “Primeval Chronology” are the results of transcription errors in the texts available to Dr. Green. Show your work, or concede the point.

    “Pretty much everyone I’ve listened and talked to believes the Isaiah prophecy to be an Edenic allusion.”

    Then you need to get out more, and talk to Biblical scholars outside your young-earth creationist circle. Here again I can refer to Augustine; he believed that carnivorous animals were designed to kill and eat other animals, with all the suffering and death that entails.

    I get the strong impression that all your knowledge of Biblical scholarship comes from this “Creation Ministries International” group you cite so much, and that you’ve never read a serious Biblical commentary or theological treatise whose author wasn’t involved in the creationism debate. Frankly, I’m surprised that someone who thinks he’s defending Christianity should know so little of the variety of opinions within it – and that it’s that side of things, not the biology, where your knowledge is most defective.

    “Nope. You can look up baraminology on your own for the actual position of creationists.”

    *looks up “baraminology”*

    OK, look. Nobody believes that six millennia is enough time for a natural speciation to occur, not even you. Therefore, nearly every species that exists today existed 6000 years ago; the modal number of species per “created kind”, if all life was created then, is one. Since there are millions of species now, there must have been millions of “created kinds” under your hypothesis, and thus millions of separate miracles to create each kind. (And that’s just from living species. Adding in the species we know only from the fossil record makes your situation even worse.)

    Please do not insult my intelligence any further with this nonsense.

    “According to the creation account in Genesis, we are the last such miracle! So, we’re not around to observe and experiment for most of the first six days,”

    Congratulations; you have just recapitulated Philip Gosse’s theory in Omphalos – and made God out to be a systematic liar, just as he did. It’s the sheer number of miraculous creations you have to assume that makes the study of biology futile. Putting all the miracles into a few days, just before the first man existed (so he couldn’t have observed them) only makes the futility more pointed.

    “As we have already discussed, to get even the slightest bit of novel function out of an existing gene by mutating it is practically impossible and has never been observed in nature,”

    Your previous exposition showed at most that generating new and beneficial functions from an existing gene by point mutations is improbable. You ignored one reply to this, that point mutations are not the only type that occurs in nature. Now I add the further reply, that even extreme improbability is not impossibility, and decreasing the probability of a beneficial mutation in one generation just extends the expected time until it occurs.

    As for being observed in nature – I give you Exhibit B: polyploidy. Examples of polyploid mutations abound; it’s ridiculously common among the plants, and most of our staple crops are polyploid. And polyploidy very often leads to radical changes when it happens – just the sort of “new features” you are demanding as proof of evolution.

  264. @Terry&Michael
    “Your previous exposition showed at most that generating new and beneficial functions from an existing gene by point mutations is improbable.”

    This point has been disproved decades ago. This is just Creationist mambo-jumbo that bank on the ignorance of their audience.

    Although I think it is useless to “convince” a Creationist about evolution as the aim of creationism is not to understand the world but to silence science, I will give some counter examples. That might help to get this point moved. All the examples are using random mutations followed by strong selection. In this case, the selection is done by humans setting the right environmental circumstances. All show that new enzymatic functions evolve, sometimes new reactions evolve that have no known counterpart in the living world.

    Directed Evolution Teaches an Old Enzyme New Tricks
    https://www.wired.com/2013/01/directed-evolution-teaches-an-old-enzyme-new-tricks/

    Here is a scientific review:
    Directed enzyme evolution
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0958166901002610

    More papers:
    In the light of directed evolution: Pathways of adaptive protein evolution
    http://www.pnas.org/content/106/Supplement_1/9995.short

    Expanding the Enzyme Universe: Accessing Non?Natural Reactions by Mechanism?Guided Directed Evolution
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.201409470/full

  265. @Terry&Michael
    “Your previous exposition showed at most that generating new and beneficial functions from an existing gene by point mutations is improbable.”

    This point has been disproved decades ago. This is just Creationist mambo-jumbo that bank on the ignorance of their audience.

    Although I think it is useless to “convince” a Creationist about evolution as the aim of creationism is not to understand the world but to silence science, I will give some counter examples. That might help to get this point moved. All the examples are using random mutations followed by strong selection. In this case, the selection is done by humans setting the right environmental circumstances. All show that new enzymatic functions evolve, sometimes new reactions evolve that have no known counterpart in the living world.

    Directed Evolution Teaches an Old Enzyme New Tricks
    https://www.wired.com/2013/01/directed-evolution-teaches-an-old-enzyme-new-tricks/

    Here is a scientific review:
    Directed enzyme evolution
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0958166901002610

    More papers:
    In the light of directed evolution: Pathways of adaptive protein evolution
    http://www.pnas.org/content/106/Supplement_1/9995.short

    Expanding the Enzyme Universe: Accessing Non?Natural Reactions by Mechanism?Guided Directed Evolution
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.201409470/full

  266. “the aim of creationism is not to understand the world but to silence science”

    Are there Dominionists lurking under your bed, too?

  267. @Jay
    “Are there Dominionists lurking under your bed, too?”

    I have no idea what the Dominionists are, but that the creationists are fighting science itself is not exactly a secret.

    About the time that Bryan discovered the relation between Darwinian ideas and the war, he also became aware, to his great distress, of unsettling effects the theory of evolution was having on.America’s own young people. From frequent visits to college campuses and from talks with parents, pastors, and Sunday School teachers, he learned about an epidemic of unbelief that was sweeping the country. Upon investigating the cause, reported his wife, “he became convinced that the teaching of Evolution as a fact instead of a theory caused the students to lose faith in the Bible, first, in the story of creation, and later in other doctrines, which underlie the Christian religion” (4). Again Bryan found confirming evidence in a recently published book, Belief in God and Immortality ( 1916), by the Bryn Mawr psychologist James H. Leuba, who demonstrated statistically that college attendance endangered traditional religious beliefs (3, pp. 266-267).

    Armed with this information about the cause of the world’s and the nation’s moral decay, Bryan launched a nationwide crusade against the offending doctrine. Throughout his political career Bryan had placed his faith in the common people, and he resented the attempt of a few thousand scientists “to establish an oligarchy over the forty million American Christians” and to dictate what should be taught in the schools (5). To a Democrat like Bryan, it seemed preposterous that this “scientific soviet” would not only demand to teach its insidious philosophy but insist that society pay its salaries (3, p. 289). Confident that nine tenths of the Christian citizens agreed with him (6), he decided to appeal directly to them, as he had done successfully in fighting the liquor interests. “Commit your case to the people,” he advised creationists. “Forget, if need be, the high-brows both in the political and college world, and carry this cause to the people. They are the final and efficiently corrective power” (7).

    http://www.history.vt.edu/Barrow/Hist3706/readings/numbers.html

    See also:
    http://www.counterbalance.org/history/creat1920-frame.html

  268. > (Michael for now) Sorry, no. You don’t get to ignore an argument against your main thesis merely by…

    This reminds me of Ian Juby’s reaction to certain comments on his Genesis Week fifth season (2016), eleventh episode (the reaction is in the Mail Bag segment of the following episode. “Disingenuous my foot! You guys are apparently *ahem* a little behind the times. The theory you mentioned is called the ‘anticedent river theory’ and it was first proposed … …in 1875.”

    He seemed a little frustrated that he had to do his critics’ homework for them, and quite frankly, so am I. But I have another reason to be frustrated:

    Several times you have implied and/or outright stated that you are not an atheist. What you haven’t said (but have implied) is that you follow a Christian basis of faith. Is this true? If it is, why do you hold onto the Evolution narrative so strongly? (If not, that you do isn’t all that remarkable, to use the word the way Nye does.)

    Now for an actual refutation, you who are too lazy to refute me with material from even one century back: Green is proposing from observations that later-than-Genesis scribes are “But trusting to the knowledge of his readers to supply the omission” (which is perfectly reasonable since the Isrealites memorized the Torah, including Genesis for thousands of years as part of their elementary education) means that the original genealogies in Genesis must be similarly flawed. This is not a valid assumption. While he doesn’t argue this in the paper you linked, others claim that he argued similar to the way I’ve asked of you (you haven’t argued thus and haven’t answered it either), how does this allow millions of years? These errors don’t even come up to a thousand years!

    Now if you want something a bit more modern, try this on for size: http://creation.com/historical-adam-biologos

    > Then you need to get out more, and talk to Biblical scholars outside your young-earth creationist circle.

    Biblical scholars who hate the biblical timeline? That’s a bit like asking for an expert opinion on the character of Eric Raymond from Richard Stallman. Also, most of the long-age biblical scholars I’ve listened to regarding Isaiah 11 also believe it to be an Edenic allusion.

    Finally (for this bit), is this just friendly advice on your part, or are you making some sort of claim that Isaiah 11 is not an Edenic allusion?

    > OK, look. Nobody believes that six millennia is enough time for a natural speciation to occur, not even you.

    So now you know what I believe and don’t believe. Am I supposed to be impressed by a claim like this?

    > Since there are millions of species now, there must have been millions of “created kinds” under your hypothesis, and thus millions of separate miracles to create each kind.

    Millions of what? Certainly not baramins! Speciation is actually a rapid process: the London Underground has its own species of mosquito, unable to reproduce with surface mosquitoes. Chihuahuas and malamutes are not considered separate species, yet it’s pretty obvious that they can’t mate and have puppies. Pseudorcas and bottlenose dolphins are (or rather were) considered separate species, yet they can mate and have calves. Zonkeys and ligers and camas, oh my! A few baramin have been identified that have over a thousand species – by Biblical creationists! I.e people who believe six millenia is plenty enough time for such speciation to occur. Nobody my foot!

    > Please do not insult my intelligence any further with this nonsense.

    If you take 21st century science for nonsense so readily while sticking to the debunked dogmas of the 19th century, you ask a difficult thing in avoiding insults to your intelligence.

    > Congratulations; you have just recapitulated Philip Gosse’s theory in Omphalos – and made God out to be a systematic liar, just as he did. It’s the sheer number of miraculous creations you have to assume that makes the study of biology futile. Putting all the miracles into a few days, just before the first man existed (so he couldn’t have observed them) only makes the futility more pointed.

    Really? The TL;DR version of Genesis is a) God makes everything, including mankind. b) God gives mankind authority over everything. c) God’s only general order is to multiply and fill the earth, and eventually subdue it. The millions of miracles stop on the sixth day and from then on, biology is consistent and almost totally miracle-free. And biology is futile? Such a claim is futile since it was Biblical creationists who founded the study of biology! And there’s the historical fact that experimental genetics was stalled for forty years after Gregor Mendel founded this field of study because Charles Darwin and his “abstract reasoning” literally got in the way!

    > Your previous exposition showed at most that generating new and beneficial functions from an existing gene by point mutations is improbable.

    It’s not improbable, it’s impossible. As improbable as a black hole constructing an RCA television complete and functional, with the Zenith logo, all the channel numbers on the knobs, NEMA compatible cord and plug, etc.. Probabilities on the order of ten to the power of negative thousands are impossible, not just improbable.

    > You ignored one reply to this, that point mutations are not the only type that occurs in nature.

    No I didn’t: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6758#comment-1798667

    > As for being observed in nature – I give you Exhibit B: polyploidy.

    Cutting and pasting a gene is not creating new information. Let me repeat for emphasis: cutting and pasting a gene is not creating new information. Again: cutting and pasting a gene is not creating new information. Just one more time: cutting and pasting a gene is not creating new information.

    How radically different is that from saying it just once? Polyploidy is quite interesting yes, but the main reason botanists cause it is actually to disable seeding. That isn’t adding a new feature, but taking one away. And as for new traits, the um…

    > “new features” you are demanding as proof of evolution.

    Tell me about your favorite example. Is it the edibility of bananas?

    I’ll have to respond to Winter’s comment later. Should I respond to the first one or the second one? (lol) I have four words for the third though:

    > (Winter) but that the creationists are fighting science itself is not exactly a secret.

    [Not in citation given]

  269. @Terry
    “> (Winter) but that the creationists are fighting science itself is not exactly a secret.
    [Not in citation given]”

    Maybe not to you. But this quote tells us that Bryan was not interested in the science behind evolution, but only in the effect it had on the faith of the youth:

    Upon investigating the cause, reported his wife, “he became convinced that the teaching of Evolution as a fact instead of a theory caused the students to lose faith in the Bible, first, in the story of creation, and later in other doctrines, which underlie the Christian religion” (4).

    But to help you out, lets remind you that Creationism also fights astronomy, geology, and quantum physics to prove the Genesis is “right”. They are also fighting atmospheric physics and meteorology (their linkup with the AGW deniers). Obviously, they are also fighting medical and social sciences because these scientist refuse to find bad effects of pot, sex, and being gay.

    What connects all these cases is the insistence of the religious fundamentalists that there is no one who is allowed to claim there are facts not attested by their interpretation of the bible.

  270. Terry: “Green is proposing from observations that later-than-Genesis scribes are “But trusting to the knowledge of his readers to supply the omission” (which is perfectly reasonable since the Isrealites memorized the Torah, including Genesis for thousands of years as part of their elementary education) means that the original genealogies in Genesis must be similarly flawed.”

    No. Green observed that many Biblical genealogies outside of Genesis omit generations (which means that “A is the father of B” in a genealogy doesn’t necessarily mean more than that B is descended from A) and concludes that the genealogies in Genesis may have omitted generations as well; we are free to believe that they did, unless other passages state direct paternity. The conclusion that generations were omitted is based on natural evidence.

    “how does this allow millions of years?”

    I think you mean “hundreds of thousands” here, since the oldest Homo sapiens fossils are a bit less than 200,000 years old. But surely this is obvious? Any number of people could exist between an ancestor and his descendant.

    Also? I don’t care how old an argument is, just whether it’s been refuted. And in theology especially, novelty is reason to suspect an argument, not to accept it. I take Augustine and Aquinas much more seriously than your CMI in part because their work has stood up to criticism for many centuries, while CMI is a flash in the pan, set up only yesterday and probably gone tomorrow.

    “The millions of miracles stop on the sixth day and from then on, biology is consistent and almost totally miracle-free. And biology is futile?”

    I can only quote Charles Kingsley’s reaction to Omphalos on its publication: “Your book tends to prove this—that if we accept the fact of absolute creation, God becomes Deus quidam deceptor. I do not mean merely in the case of fossils which pretend to be the bones of dead animals; but in the one single case of your newly created scars on the pandanus trunk, your newly created Adam’s navel, you make God tell a lie.”

    “It’s not improbable, it’s impossible. As improbable as a black hole constructing an RCA television complete and functional, with the Zenith logo, all the channel numbers on the knobs, NEMA compatible cord and plug, etc.. Probabilities on the order of ten to the power of negative thousands are impossible, not just improbable.”

    I thought you had conceded that evolutionary biology is, in fact, a possible account of the biological facts, and were maintaining only that there was no empirical evidence for it. Are you going back on that now?

    As may be – you’re simply wrong here. 1e-1000 is not 0; an event with a miniscule probability of happening on one trial will eventually occur if enough trials take place. You can even calculate the expected time until a highly improbable event occurs – the Poisson distribution gives it to you.

    “Cutting and pasting a gene is not creating new information. Let me repeat for emphasis: cutting and pasting a gene is not creating new information. […] How radically different is that from saying it just once?”

    Following the instruction “Broil for five minutes” once, and following it twice, is the difference between a tasty hamburger and a dry, charred, inedible hunk of ground beef. Genes are instructions, not propositions.

    Parrot: “But to help you out, lets remind you that Creationism also fights astronomy, geology, and quantum physics to prove the Genesis is “right”. They are also fighting atmospheric physics and meteorology (their linkup with the AGW deniers).”

    Come now, that’s paranoia talking. There’s no link from young-earth creationists to AGW skeptics; the only thing they have in common is irritating transnational progressives.

  271. @Terry
    “I’ll have to respond to Winter’s comment later. Should I respond to the first one or the second one? ”

    I would love to see your response to my directed evolution comment.

  272. > (Winter) But to help you out, lets remind you that Creationism also fights astronomy, geology, and quantum physics to prove the Genesis is “right”. They are also fighting atmospheric physics and meteorology (their linkup with the AGW deniers).

    Wow. This is the most impressive bunch of ignorant nonsense I’ve seen since the 2015 Bahnsen Conference.

    Astronomy: The microwave spectrum never did the Big Bang any favours even when it was first predicted and discovered by Big Bangers: it was far too smooth, over four orders of magnitude more smooth than the predictions of the model, and it gets worse as the predicted shadows of galactic clusters in the foreground (it is supposed to be the CMB or cosmic microwave “background” after all) are between far less pronounced than they should be and totally nonexistent depending on which galaxy cluster you’re looking at. That’s one of four topics in astronomy with which I am familiar enough to know your claim that creation fights astronomy is just nonsense.

    Geology: The explanatory power of uniformitarian geology is almost nonexistent when relatively modern features such as the Grand Canyon and truly modern features such as the Engineer’s Canyon (formed by Mt. St. Helen’s runoff in 1980 in a matter of days) cut through many many flat layers of sediment which are conspicuously absent paleosols and erosion features and conspicuously contain turbulent mixing features, fluidization columns, and polystrate fossils for which Evolutionists have no explanation at all which hasn’t been laughed off the floor decades ago by their own ranks, the most vocal of which was Stephen Jay Gould. Also, the guy who founded the science of geology, Nicholas Steno, did so in order to support the Biblical narrative from scientific evidence.

    Quantum Physics: Aside from claims from physicists that hold an atheistic basis of faith that they are motivated to do origins research, I have seen nothing that suggests quantum physics has anything against creation nor vice versa. The RATE group got well ahead of secular physicists in understanding the link between variable rates of radionuclide decay and the weak nuclear force.

    Atmospheric physics and meteorology: I guess that’s why creationists lead in this field as well, with CMAS theories and rather successful hurricane modeling.

    > (Winter) Obviously, they are also fighting medical and social sciences because these scientist refuse to find bad effects of pot, sex, and being gay.

    At this point, I have to wonder if you’re being sarcastic. Or maybe technically incompetent? You double posted a comment earlier and then totally missed my joke regarding them.

    > Strange vedfellows, indeed.

    The groups have a lot of overlap, since they are both opposed to CAGW and Evolution because the evidence isn’t there to support either theory. The science doesn’t stack up. I don’t know what you mean by “vedfellows”, as there is no conspiracy. The most conspicuous collaboration if you want to actually do some research for a change, is the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation at cornwallalliance.org.

    > (Michael for the rest of this comment) I don’t care how old an argument is, just whether it’s been refuted.

    It has been refuted, you’re just refusing to do your homework and also refusing to read my comments. I’ve noticed you’ve made three claims about my thinking, the person who’s keys are on the keyboard typing the words that you read at this moment, which are complete nonsense and could have been avoided by simply reading what I had typed.

    > I can only quote Charles Kingsley’s reaction to Omphalos on its publication: “Your book tends to prove this—that if we accept the fact of absolute creation, God becomes Deus quidam deceptor.”

    This must be old enough (1857) that, despite having done several episodes on the topic on Creation Magazine Live (2011, now in sixth season) to literally laugh at this concept, Calvin Smith and Richard Fangrad have never quoted this guy. It has always been something more recent. (Also, the Omphalos hypothesis, not by that exact name, is listed on CMI’s “Arguments we think creationists should NOT use” page.)

    > (Michael) I thought you had conceded that evolutionary biology is, in fact, a possible account of the biological facts, and were maintaining only that there was no empirical evidence for it. Are you going back on that now?

    I stand corrected: Four claims about my thinking which are complete nonsense.

    You’re like a bad lawyer, badgering the witness with his own words to confuse him into falling apart on the stand and losing his credibility with the jury, even long after it should be obvious the tactic is backfiring. Either that or you really are as inattentive as you appear to be.

    > As may be – you’re simply wrong here. 1e-1000 is not 0; an event with a miniscule probability of happening on one trial will eventually occur if enough trials take place. You can even calculate the expected time until a highly improbable event occurs – the Poisson distribution gives it to you.

    “Then, to help readers understand just how big that number was, he asked them to imagine a tiny ameba assigned the task of carrying matter, just one atom at a time, from one edge of the universe to the other side (30 billion light years away) and travelling at the incredibly slow pace of only one inch [2.54 cm] each year.

    “The staggering outcome is that in 10^171 years, the ameba would have transported 10^64 entire universes.” – James Coppedge, Evolution: Possible or Impossible, 1973 Zondervan.

    “It is here the age of the 1973 book shows. If it were written today, I’m pretty sure he would have given this task to this little guy: Mr Kinesin, a protein specifically designed for carrying one molecule at a time by walking a molecular tightrope inside cells.” – me in the comments at http://creation.com/david-coppedge-creation-safari-man

    That’s what “practically” impossible means. It’s occurrence would constitute a bona fide unqualified unadulterated miracle of the sort your side would deny if performed by God. Of the sort Jay Maynard claims would make the universe irrational and impossible, thus rendering science useless. Especially since there is no God to perform it!

    Let me ask you this: Is it possible to win a national lottery ten thousand times in a row without anyone raising a doubt that it’s just chance?

    > Following the instruction “Broil for five minutes” once, and following it twice, is the difference between a tasty hamburger and a dry, charred, inedible hunk of ground beef. [Lulz: some people I met prefer it this way.] Genes are instructions, not propositions.

    You’re the one who said it. But er…

    > As for [Evolution] being observed in nature – I give you Exhibit B: polyploidy.

    …is your argument! You’re the one arguing as though genes are not instructions. Are you that totally blind to how hilarious this is becoming?

  273. @Terry
    Astronomy vs Young Earth Creationism: Check
    Geology vs YEC: Check
    Radio Isotopes vs YEC: Check

    Yeah, Creationism fights a lot of sciences. As you observe, they also fight science on AGW.

    And you ignore my examples of directed evolution.

    @Terry
    “You double posted a comment earlier and then totally missed my joke regarding them.”

    Indeed. A technical glitch. I warned the miderator to remove ibe of them, but he removed the warning.

  274. ” I warned the miderator to remove ibe of them, but he removed the warning.”

    I warned the moderator to remove one of them, but he removed the warning.

  275. @Terry
    “The groups have a lot of overlap, since they are both opposed to CAGW and Evolution because the evidence isn’t there to support either theory. ”

    In both cases, the deniers assume that all the scientists are either lying frauds or gullible fools. In both cases, the deniers aee adamant that whatever scientists say must be ignored. What more do they need to have in common?

    But it is nice that you go to great lengths to confirm and illustrate every point I make.

  276. > (Winter for this comment) Astronomy vs Young Earth Creationism: Check
    > Geology vs YEC: Check
    > Radio Isotopes vs YEC: Check

    Arguments missing (Press F1 to continue). Gratz on the most explicit pigeon chess play I’ve ever seen, lol!

    > In both cases, the deniers assume that all the scientists are either lying frauds or gullible fools.

    No, they aren’t. In fact, they do quite the opposite. What mystifies me is how Dr. Robert Carter (CMI) fawns over Dr. Francis Collins (BioLogos, formerly HGP) while being completely mystified as to how this fellow “Christian” (my scare quotes, not Dr. Carter’s) holds the opinions that he does in spite of the evidence available.

    See, you’re claiming that Biblical creationists (including me) and those who have realized that CAGW theory doesn’t fit real-life (indluding esr) are anti-science. Yet who between the two of us is arguing with science and who between the two of us is using conspiracy-speak?

    You better plead the Fifth (or your nationality’s equivalent) on this question because you obviously can’t tell the difference between science and conspiracy-speak and have them confused.

  277. Me: “I don’t care how old an argument is, just whether it’s been refuted.”

    Terry: “It has been refuted, you’re just refusing to do your homework and also refusing to read my comments.”

    No. You have said two things about “Primeval Chronology”: that it was published more than a century ago (which is irrelevant) and that it argues by analogy from other Biblical genealogies that the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11 must be incomplete (which is false; it says they may be incomplete.) Neither statement refutes what Green actually wrote.

    So, again. Show your work, or concede the point.

    “You’re like a bad lawyer, badgering the witness with his own words to confuse him into falling apart on the stand and losing his credibility with the jury, even long after it should be obvious the tactic is backfiring.”

    There is no jury here, and on this subject the sympathies of the audience are with me, not you. (If we even have an audience at this point, that is.)

    “This must be old enough (1857) that, despite having done several episodes on the topic on Creation Magazine Live (2011, now in sixth season) to literally laugh at this concept, Calvin Smith and Richard Fangrad have never quoted [Charles Kingsley].”

    If you knew anything about religious controversies in Victorian England – other than the debates over Darwin’s work – you’d have heard of Charles Kingsley before. He is not exactly obscure. Again I must wonder at your ignorance of Christian thinking outside of creationism.

    I’ll also take note now of your persistent chronological snobbery. You have consistently assumed that research which was published later is for that reason alone more valid – that at long as you’ve kept up with the latest papers from this CMI group of yours, you don’t need to know anything about what was said or written before you were born. That is, you exhibit a blind faith in the Progress of Science closely resembling the blind faith that many third-rate intellectuals of the 20th century had in Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud.

    “Let me ask you this: Is it possible to win a national lottery ten thousand times in a row without anyone raising a doubt that it’s just chance?”

    Wrong question. With evolutionary biology, the comparable question is: are you likely to win a lottery ten thousand times, if you buy one ticket in each of ten million drawings?

    “You’re the one arguing as though genes are not instructions.” (re: polyploidy)

    What? The only reason polyploidy has any effect at all is that genes work like instructions. If they were propositional, duplicating a chromosome wouldn’t change anything in the cell. Have you gotten confused?

    Parrot: “Astronomy vs Young Earth Creationism: Check
    Geology vs YEC: Check
    Radio Isotopes vs YEC: Check”

    Terry: “Arguments missing (Press F1 to continue).”

    It’s not that difficult to supply the arguments.

    Astronomy: We needn’t go as far as the cosmic background radiation, just to stars and galaxies. If the universe was created ~6000 years ago, the light from any stars farther away than ~6000 light years cannot have reached us yet, so we could see only stars closer than that. In fact, nearly all the stars we see are much farther away than that. The center of our own galaxy is 27,000 light years from us, and its radius is between 50,000 and 90,000 light years – less than 1% of the stars in our night sky would be visible at this moment if YEC were right.

    Geology: The very existence of metamorphic rocks is enough to refute the chronology of James Ussher, for the processes that create them can take hundreds of thousands of years. Every block of marble ever quarried is far older than YEC allows for the age of the Earth.

    Radioisotopes: These are relevant to YEC because of radiometric dating – particularly uranium-lead dating. The processes that form zircon incorporate uranium and thorium easily, but not lead; therefore any lead found in zircon is the result of radioactive decay, and the proportion of uranium to lead in a zircon crystal is set by its age. Note that the half-life of uranium-238 is more than 4 billion years, so a zircon crystal with detectable amounts of lead has to be over a million years old. According to YEC such crystals couldn’t exist – but they do.

  278. @Michael
    That was my argument indeed. And I would like to add that the validity of dating by radio isotopes is based on quantum mechanics. Hence the QM vs YEC controversy.
    http://www.icr.org/article/6246

    They do this in tne “guise” of science, but they are attacking one group of scientists by misquoting others. All to portray scientists as totally unreliable fools and/or frauds.

  279. @Terry
    You are still ignoring my central argument: Directed evolution shows that random mutations and selection can lead to completely new functionality.

    Still not been able to formulate a response?

  280. > (Michael unless otherwise noted) No. You have said two things about “Primeval Chronology”: that it was published more than a century ago (which is irrelevant)

    I’ve also said that since then there has been more than a century of discussion, including refutation of his arguments, since then, which is not irrelevant and which you can’t be bothered to look at.

    > and that it argues by analogy from other Biblical genealogies that the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11 must be incomplete (which is false; it says they may be incomplete.)

    “May” vs. “must”. You’re using it in the latter sense, and as far as argumentation is concerned, so is he. You guys (i.e. Evolutionists in general) do like to turn uncertainties about something’s accuracy into certainties about its falsehood.

    > Neither statement refutes what Green actually wrote.

    What you’ve missed is that it has been refuted by others. Check out this page:

    http://creation.com/biblical-chronogenealogies

    Your citation is so old that they don’t even mention it. Your education is far, far too selective.

    > So, again. Show your work, or concede the point.

    Do your own research, kid. I’m really getting sick of you bringing up century-old nonsense that the actual experts in our era have literally forgotten.

    > There is no jury here, and on this subject the sympathies of the audience are with me, not you. (If we even have an audience at this point, that is.)

    Among those commenting. I’m pretty sure most of the audience is not commenting.

    > Again I must wonder at your ignorance of Christian thinking outside of creationism.

    It’s not all that hard to understand: pick up one of the Refuting Compromise books by Jonathan Sarfati to see how long-age “Christian” creationists are irrelevant, snubbed by both sides of the debate. The Rosses and Collinses are informed by modern science and still get their asses kicked so hard they won’t accept invitations to debate with CMI staffers, and non-CMI biblical creationists like Dr. Kent Hovind, Ian Juby, etc.. Why are you so mystified that Victorian-era compromisers can get lost in the shadows of modern giants?

    > I’ll also take note now of your persistent chronological snobbery. You have consistently assumed that research which was published later is for that reason alone more valid

    That’s the fifth bullshit claim you’ve made about what’s going on in my thoughts. Please stop doing that.

    > “Let me ask you this: Is it possible to win a national lottery ten thousand times in a row without anyone raising a doubt that it’s just chance?” / Wrong question.

    Wrong answer. Again, you’re not reading what I’ve written: If something so spectacularly improbable as the miracles required for Evolution were to be observed in the lab, they would be regarded as miracles (or cheating) with factors other than random chance at play. The exact same thing would happen if you started winning national lotteries on a consistent basis: people would believe there is more than chance involved.

    > With evolutionary biology, the comparable question is: are you likely to win a lottery ten thousand times, if you buy one ticket in each of ten million drawings?

    That isn’t a comparable question. The comparable question would be “Are you likely to the grand prize of a national lottery ten to the power of ten thousand times?” You can buy as many tickets as you want, of course, because there simply aren’t enough tickets in the entire universe.

    > What? The only reason polyploidy has any effect at all is that genes work like instructions. If they were propositional, duplicating a chromosome wouldn’t change anything in the cell. Have you gotten confused?

    I am at this point. I can’t make any sense of this.

    > It’s not that difficult to supply the arguments.

    Thanks for pressing F1 :)

    > Astronomy: We needn’t go as far as the cosmic background radiation, just to stars and galaxies. If the universe was created ~6000 years ago…

    A lot of work has been done to answer that question. You’ll have to look it up for yourself because I’m not good enough at physics to get a grasp on them. What I do know is that to solve the similar horizon problem related to the cosmic microwave spectrum, cosmologists have proposed a primordial era of inflation that requires the universe to expand 10^29 times faster than the light has to travel to reach Earth from the cosmic event horizon in six thousand years. In a nutshell, if I were to concede the point of your argument, you would need to concede a point 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times as powerful that refutes the secular LCDM cosmology. The secular cosmologists have gotten quite desperate to replace it. Still in only the first of the four astronomy arguments with which I am familiar.

    > Geology: The very existence of metamorphic rocks is enough to refute the chronology of James Ussher, for the processes that create them can take hundreds of thousands of years.

    No, they don’t. You might be presenting an example which hasn’t been busted yet, but there are many, many processes once thought to take long periods of time (and still thought to do so by third-rate academics) which have been shown experimentally or by the observation of a recent catastrophe to proceed very rapidly. Wikipedia’s page on Widmanstätten patterns makes the argument that it takes millions of years to form them in nature, and then inadvertently refutes the argument in the next section about making them in modern, artificial, steel.

    > Note that the half-life of uranium-238 is more than 4 billion years, so a zircon crystal with detectable amounts of lead has to be over a million years old. According to YEC such crystals couldn’t exist – but they do.

    Straw man fallacy detected. You need to look up the RATE group for yourself. You can start at http://www.icr.org/rate/

    I know you’ve said you weren’t an atheist, Michael, but I can tell you are not able to approach the throne of judgment without getting burned. To call yourself a Christian, you have to take God far, far, more seriously than this.

    > (Winter) You are still ignoring my central argument: Directed evolution shows that random mutations and selection can lead to completely new functionality.

    I’m sorry, what? I don’t recall you ever making this argument (or describing whatever you mean by “directed evolution”), but it has been made and refuted already. Just read my comments. Press Ctrl-F on your keyboard and type “Terry” to find them.

    > (Winter) They do this in tne “guise” of science, but they are attacking one group of scientists by misquoting others.

    As good as you are at reading the comments on this page, you’ll have to learn to tolerate such claims being summarily rejected.

  281. Me: “Neither statement refutes what Green actually wrote.”

    Terry: “What you’ve missed is that it has been refuted by others.”

    In counterpoint, I refer you to this even more detailed exposition of how Biblical genealogies and the creation narrative have historically been understood – which is not how YEC understands them.

    Me: “I’ll also take note now of your persistent chronological snobbery. You have consistently assumed that research which was published later is for that reason alone more valid …”

    Terry: “That’s the fifth bullshit claim you’ve made about what’s going on in my thoughts.”
    In the same post: “Why are you so mystified that Victorian-era compromisers can get lost in the shadows of modern giants?”
    “I’m really getting sick of you bringing up century-old nonsense that the actual experts in our era have literally forgotten.”

    … Pull the other one, it has bells on.

    “If something so spectacularly improbable as the miracles required for Evolution were to be observed in the lab, they would be regarded as miracles (or cheating) with factors other than random chance at play.”

    Again, given enough time even spectacularly improbable events eventually do happen. Astrophysics and geology assure us that billions of years were available for life of its present complexity to develop in. The argument that, because spectacularly improbable events don’t happen while we are looking for them, they can never have happened at all, betrays a simple misunderstanding of probability theory.

    (On the visibility of stars) “A lot of work has been done to answer that question. You’ll have to look it up for yourself because I’m not good enough at physics to get a grasp on them.”

    You did not need to tell me that; it’s implicit in what you have said on the subject. It suffices to say that refuting inflationary cosmology would not help you one whit. Go out on a dark night and look up at the Milky Way; the light you see it by has been traveling more than five times as long as the date James Ussher fixed for the universe’s creation.

    (On metamorphic rocks) “No, they don’t. You might be presenting an example which hasn’t been busted yet,”

    Such sublime yet unjustified confidence. Look up “regional metamorphism” sometime. Also “plate tectonics” and “orogenesis”.

    (On radiometric dating) “Straw man fallacy detected. You need to look up the RATE group for yourself.”

    No, I don’t. All I need to know is the rate at which uranium turns into lead (experimentally determined to high precision) and whether lead can get into zircon by chemical processes (experimentally settled – it does not.) The conclusion that zircon with detectable lead impurities must be ancient, contra YEC, follows immediately. The RATE group cannot impeach it except by denying either nuclear physics or inorganic chemistry.

    “I know you’ve said you weren’t an atheist, Michael, but I can tell you are not able to approach the throne of judgment without getting burned.”

    And when were you elected Pope? What right have you to denounce a statement as heresy, or proclaim a doctrine to be integral to the Christian faith as received by the Apostles? Do you imagine yourself a prophet, as Joseph Smith and Mohammed did?

  282. @Terry
    “I’m sorry, what? I don’t recall you ever making this argument (or describing whatever you mean by “directed evolution”), but it has been made and refuted already. ”

    It was made above several times and you did not address it even once.

    For your convenience, I repost it:
    @Terry&Michael
    “Your previous exposition showed at most that generating new and beneficial functions from an existing gene by point mutations is improbable.”

    This point has been disproved decades ago. This is just Creationist mambo-jumbo that bank on the ignorance of their audience.

    Although I think it is useless to “convince” a Creationist about evolution as the aim of creationism is not to understand the world but to silence science, I will give some counter examples. That might help to get this point moved. All the examples are using random mutations followed by strong selection. In this case, the selection is done by humans setting the right environmental circumstances. All show that new enzymatic functions evolve, sometimes new reactions evolve that have no known counterpart in the living world.

    Directed Evolution Teaches an Old Enzyme New Tricks
    https://www.wired.com/2013/01/directed-evolution-teaches-an-old-enzyme-new-tricks/

    Here is a scientific review:
    Directed enzyme evolution
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0958166901002610

    More papers:
    In the light of directed evolution: Pathways of adaptive protein evolution
    http://www.pnas.org/content/106/Supplement_1/9995.short

    Expanding the Enzyme Universe: Accessing Non?Natural Reactions by Mechanism?Guided Directed Evolution
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.201409470/full

  283. I forgot:

    @Michael
    “All I need to know is the rate at which uranium turns into lead (experimentally determined to high precision) and whether lead can get into zircon by chemical processes (experimentally settled – it does not.)”

    The first part, stability of radioactive decay, is Nuclear Physics, contested by Creationists:
    http://creation.com/radioactive-decay-rate-depends-on-chemical-environment

    The second part is geology/solid state physics. I do not know whether Creationists contest this too.

  284. > (Michael until further notice) In counterpoint, I refer you to [this even more detailed exposition](http://www.godandscience.org/youngearth/genesis_genealogies.html “The Genesis Genaeologies: Are They Complete by Dr. John Millam”) of how Biblical genealogies and the creation narrative have historically been understood – which is not how YEC understands them.

    Let’s cut a deal to be fair with eachother’s time. If you wish to answer Refuting Compromise by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, which also makes claims about this subject matter, while directly shredding Dr. Hugh Ross (whom Millam relies heavily on as a source for this article), I’ll read answer this wall of text. You can answer either the book directly, the article at http://creation.com/refuting-compromise-refutation-of-hugh-ross-introductory-chapter-and-reviews with the first chunk of it, or this 2011 MBC lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2v5AsHg7R2I&t=4m

    Thanks for citing something more modern this time, although it appears that John Millam is small enough fry that DDG can’t find any mention of him on creation.com. ICR grabbed a brief quote from him as an example of how not to do Bible exegesis.

    > Pull the other one, it has bells on.

    I’m looking at these from earlier:

    > Again I must wonder at your ignorance of Christian thinking outside of creationism. (emphasis added)

    You indicated here that you were mystified and I asked you why. I’m actually reading your comment.

    > Again, given enough time even spectacularly improbable events eventually do happen. Astrophysics and geology assure us that billions of years were available for life of its present complexity to develop in.

    There isn’t enough time! Billions of years knocks only fifty-one zeros off a probability that has thousands of zeros! assuming your buying a ticket every Planck time. Doing so for every quark and lepton in the entire universe will knock off maybe 81 more zeros. It is still impossible. This doesn’t even account for the scientifically measured fact that relatively small quantities of time (decades to centuries) are allowing mutations to destroy what we are seeing. Science isn’t observing Evolution, it’s observing Romans 8:22 in all organisms. At the mutation rates we’re seeing, in a couple million years we’ll all be primordial soup. That’s not Evolution.

    > You did not need to tell me that; it’s implicit in what you have said on the subject. It suffices to say that refuting inflationary cosmology would not help you one whit.

    I therefore am perfectly justified to reject your argument of the distant starlight problem with no further argument.

    > Such sublime yet unjustified confidence.

    Based on some forty previous examples of deep-time “evidence” that turned out to be anything but. Are you a pilot? Do you like teddy bears? You can actually go up in a 6000 year old fighter plane with a 200,000 year old petrified teddy bear, both of which were actually made in WWII. Unjustified my hallux!

    > Also “plate tectonics” and “orogenesis”

    Also Dr. John Baumgartner (and Antonio Snyder from the 19th century, the biblical creationist who first proposed plate tectonics in 1859 – John Baumgartner is around today modeling plate tectonics in powerful computers.)

    > No, I don’t.

    Yes, you do need to look up the RATE group for yourself. There is a heck of a lot more to know about radiometric dating than “All I need to know is the rate at which uranium turns into lead (experimentally determined to high precision) and whether lead can get into zircon by chemical processes (experimentally settled – it does not.)” According to “experimentally settled”, helium does not stay in zircon crystals for billions of years and there is way too much of the stuff in the zircon crystals that contain lead. According to “experimentally determined”, radionuclide decay rates are not constant. It’s not much of a secret that Wikipedia does YECs no favors, so why https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioactive_decay#Changing_decay_rates ?

    > And when were you elected Pope?

    If that’s how you respond to Christian-to-Christian brotherly rebuke, 1 John 4:20 may be for you. Especially since, um…

    > (Terry) the Christians of the Reform era and the Seventh Day Adventists … hold the view that the papal lineage and all members thereof … are the literal antichrist prophesied in the Bible

    > (Winter) This point has been disproved decades ago. This is just Creationist mambo-jumbo that bank on the ignorance of their audience.

    Citation needed. Especially since I have responded to your arguments (albeit not directly to your comments) several times.

    > (Winter) Although I think it is useless to “convince” a Creationist about evolution as the aim of creationism is not to understand the world but to silence science

    Winter, creationists invented science, and creationists still do science. What would it take to teach you these elementary facts?

    Finally, I know what you’re talking about when you say “directed evolution”. Before I only saw you calling natural evolution that. There are two problems:

    1. The protein functionality in directed evolution isn’t all that novel, they’re basically kitbashing peptides and getting lucky. Also, CMI’s Dr. Robert Carter not only does this himself, he invented some of the tools everyone who does this uses.

    2. There is too much intelligent interference from humans to use it as support for natural evolution without intelligence.

    > (Winter) The first part, stability of radioactive decay, is Nuclear Physics, contested by Creationists:

    And Wikipedia (linked earlier). Er… Um… How does citing creationist scientific literature prove creationists are against science?

  285. Well, Terry, since you’re not interested in reading the whole article I linked to, I’ll just leave you with one of the many historical problems with Ussher’s chronology. Ussher, by adding up the ages at fatherhood in the genealogy of Genesis 11 (as his text had them), decided that Noah’s Flood took place in 2350 BC. When the Egyptian hieroglyphs were decoded in the 19th century, that date proved to be right in the middle of the Old Kingdom period of Egypt – it corresponds to the end of the Fifth Dynasty, which was responsible for the Pyramids at Giza.

    Therefore Ussher’s date must be wrong; if anything even remotely like a world-covering flood had occurred during the Old Kingdom era, someone would have left a record of the event. Since Ussher used the figures from the Masoretic text of Genesis (and anyone working with that text would reach conclusions similar to his) either those figures are erroneous, or their first author did not intend them to be used to calculate a chronology. In either case, you can’t get a chronology out of Genesis 11, so there’s no reason to suppose Genesis 5 can be used that way either – and the YEC position collapses.

    Terry: “There isn’t enough time! Billions of years knocks only fifty-one zeros off a probability that has thousands of zeros! assuming your buying a ticket every Planck time. Doing so for every quark and lepton in the entire universe will knock off maybe 81 more zeros. It is still impossible.”

    I assume you are relying on William Dembski and Michael Behe for this calculation, and remind you again that point mutation isn’t the only type of mutation that occurs in nature. Behe and Dembski assumed that it is, making their calculations useless.

    “According to “experimentally settled”, helium does not stay in zircon crystals for billions of years and there is way too much of the stuff in the zircon crystals that contain lead.”

    1) Helium escapes from zircon until the crystals cool down to near-surface temperatures and pressures; thus helium concentrations tell us when a chunk of zircon reached the surface. Obviously that can happen at almost any time after a crystal is formed. Large amounts of helium just imply an early cooling time.
    2) The lead concentration in zircon isn’t affected by temperature or pressure, and it’s the ratio of uranium to lead that marks some zircon crystals as ancient.

    “According to “experimentally determined”, radionuclide decay rates are not constant.”

    Over the time scale of uranium’s half-life, the variations you’re looking at are insignificant – hours vs. millions of years. (If you want to criticize me for getting orders of magnitude wrong, don’t commit the same mistake yourself.)

    “The protein functionality in directed evolution isn’t all that novel, they’re basically kitbashing peptides and getting lucky.”

    My good man, “kitbashing peptides and getting lucky” is exactly how evolution works. It’s the specific part of the process you’ve been claiming can’t happen. The only difference between directed evolution and the natural process is that the directed sort has an intelligent agent imposing an environment and the natural sort doesn’t (except for divine providence, which isn’t empirically detectable.)

    “the Christians of the Reform era and the Seventh Day Adventists … hold the view that the papal lineage and all members thereof … are the literal antichrist prophesied in the Bible”

    I know this opinion is widespread among Protestants. So much the worse for them. There’s too many other points of doctrine on which Protestant theologians disagree with the beliefs of the Apostles and their immediate successors for me to credit what is a manifestly self-serving interpretation of Scripture. (Are you familiar with John Henry Newman?)

  286. @Terry
    “1. The protein functionality in directed evolution isn’t all that novel, ”

    I have little to add to Michael’s response relating to my comments, which is quite comprehensive. I have only one small addition.

    This paper is about new enzymatic reactions that have not before been seen in biological systems, disproving your “not new” reflex:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.201409470/full

    High selectivity and exquisite control over the outcome of reactions entice chemists to use biocatalysts in organic synthesis. However, many useful reactions are not accessible because they are not in nature’s known repertoire. In this Review, we outline an evolutionary approach to engineering enzymes to catalyze reactions not found in nature. We begin with examples of how nature has discovered new catalytic functions and how such evolutionary progression has been recapitulated in the laboratory starting from extant enzymes. We then examine non-native enzyme activities that have been exploited for chemical synthesis, with an emphasis on reactions that do not have natural counterparts. Non-natural activities can be improved by directed evolution, thus mimicking the process used by nature to create new catalysts. Finally, we describe the discovery of non-native catalytic functions that may provide future opportunities for the expansion of the enzyme universe.

  287. Michael already comprehensively responded to most of my points. I just want to make some small additions.

    @Terry
    “Winter, creationists invented science, and creationists still do science.”

    Not quite. “Creationism” as a movement and ideology is a late 19th century or 20th century invention, depending on your definitions. Before Darwin, many scientists believed in the divine creation of the earth, but they also believed that science would deliver the answers to the questions we have about the universe. Creationists are very clear that they do not accept answers that refute their interpretation of the bible.

    @Terry,

    Now that I have the “ear” of a Young Earth Creationist, I would like to ask a question that has bothered me for some time. The bible has two different stories about the creation of the earth and man. The first from Genesis 1:1 thru Genesis 2:3; and the second from Genesis 2:4 thru Genesis 2:25. They do not tell the same story and are sometimes contradictory.

    Your descriptions are from the first story. Does this mean that you do not think the second story is true? And why do you think the second story is false and the first story is true.

    @Terry
    “1. The protein functionality in directed evolution isn’t all that novel, ”

    One of the articles I linked to explains the directed evolution of enzymatic reactions that have not been found in living organisms before. How “new” do your want it to be?

    Expanding the Enzyme Universe: Accessing Non-Natural Reactions by Mechanism-Guided Directed Evolution
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.201409470/full

    High selectivity and exquisite control over the outcome of reactions entice chemists to use biocatalysts in organic synthesis. However, many useful reactions are not accessible because they are not in nature’s known repertoire. In this Review, we outline an evolutionary approach to engineering enzymes to catalyze reactions not found in nature. We begin with examples of how nature has discovered new catalytic functions and how such evolutionary progression has been recapitulated in the laboratory starting from extant enzymes. We then examine non-native enzyme activities that have been exploited for chemical synthesis, with an emphasis on reactions that do not have natural counterparts. Non-natural activities can be improved by directed evolution, thus mimicking the process used by nature to create new catalysts. Finally, we describe the discovery of non-native catalytic functions that may provide future opportunities for the expansion of the enzyme universe.

  288. > (Michael until noted otherwise) decided that Noah’s Flood took place in 2350 BC. When the Egyptian hieroglyphs

    Actually, he has it at 2349BC, I came to 2422BC myself, but let’s stick with Ussher. The actual issue is Babel, the timing of which is given in Genesis 10:25, which says that in his “time” (i.e. gestation), the earth was divided. 2247BC is the date you’re really looking for.

    The “Old Kingdom” of Egypt page you linked me to is classified by Wikipedia as “Start class” (the opposite end of a scale with “Featured class” at the other end) and is remarkably scant on both references and citations. About the same as CML 3×12 “Tracing the Nations Back to Babel” here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q32hkel6OEI

    and ADTV’s #1903-4 “The Evidence Speaks” (2 parts); this is the first:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vh0d6JjBiE

    The first one quotes 12th century Byzantine historian Constantinius Manasses as having said the Egyptian kingdom lasted 1663 years prior to the conquest of Egypt by Persia in 526BC. Comes to 2188BC. In Wikipedia, I don’t have to go anywhere near that far back before radiocarbon dating is relied upon. (Radionuclide dating of any kind has always been shown as less reliable than documentary dating, e.g. 2.6 million year old rock we literally watched harden from lava at Mt. St. Helen’s in 1986.)

    > Therefore Ussher’s date must be wrong; if anything even remotely like a world-covering flood had occurred during the Old Kingdom era, someone would have left a record of the event.

    There are records of the global Flood all over the world, and the oft-cited Epic of Gilgamesh people like to claim has priority on the Bible is the least consistent among these Flood legends. There is almost perfectly consistent oral Maio poetry passed down for thousands of years that reads almost exactly like the first nine chapters of Genesis (when it reasonably diverges after the Babel event), except for proper noun pronunciation (e.g. Nuah instead of Noah) and that it has some more details (e.g. Gaw-Bo-lu-en is Noah’s wife, the name of which is, by another route, the etymological root of Gwendolyn and Queen.) The answer to Alan Walker’s famous question has always been known.

    > I assume you are relying on William Dembski and Michael Behe for this calculation

    No, I’m not, I’ve crunched my own numbers, and so have many, many others. Let’s set one up right now. All reproducing organisms need something called polymerase (I haven’t sorted them out, but there appears to be some sixty exons in the human genome associated with the stuff, therefore, to give you the benefit of every possible doubt and preserve my own sanity, I went for the simplest polymerase gene I could find quickly on ENSEMBL, that of bacterium ciona intestinalis …and failed! My understanding that bacteria tend not to compress protein coding into exon form was wrong, and I wound up with the third of five exons. Screw it: let’s just assume that this exon is big enough to encode a polymerase protein. Also skipped is the fact that once a protein code has been transcribed, it has to be assembled into a ribosome-compatible mRNA …and you need the ribosome …and all the tRNAs …and the chaperonin that folds the amino acid chain into a working polymerase enzyme …and the cellular membrane that keeps it and the rest of the molecular factory from floating away and corroding (i.e. cytonecrosis) before it can finish the process. I am also going to skip the process of even coming up with the correct code and calculate the chance for random mutation to solve just one problem: chirality. The 7944 bases need to be right handed and the 2648 amino acids need to be left handed …or vice versa, which gives us one free roll. This is the equivalent of 10591 coin flips we have to get in a row. To solve the simplest part of successfully mutating a polymerase gene and its associated chicken-and-egg enzyme from scratch in an environment which already has all the amino acids and nucleotides and some way to overcome the hydrolysis problem (which, among other things, requires a crap-tonne of energy, implying ATP-synthase and all the jazz associated with that; I’m skipping that and dozens of other things too.)

    So, what is the probability of flipping a coin and getting the same face 10591 times in a row? 2^-10591 or 6.185*10^-3189. Okay, that’s not quite zero, but pretty close at 0.0000000000- …um, do I really need to type that out longhand? Already, you can only knock 141 zeros off that, and each of the things I skipped earlier would add thousands behind the decimal place of this already “practically impossible” number. That isn’t for the simplest possible organism, it’s for one exon of five needed just for the enzyme that replicates DNA. And not the code of that exon, just the chirality.

    Who was that? Michael Behe? (Just kidding; I’m pretty sure I read Darwin’s Black Box way back when it was new, but I honestly can’t recall anything from between the covers; something about mousetraps? I thought it had a mousetrap on the cover, but that’s not what DDG seems to indicate.)

    > Helium escapes from zircon until the crystals cool down to near-surface temperatures and pressures; thus helium concentrations tell us when a chunk of zircon reached the surface.

    Nope. Diffusion doesn’t stop at room temperature. Especially with something that boils at -249degC. By the way, that’s the shortest possible version of, well…

    http://www.icr.org/i/pdf/technical/Young-Helium-Diffusion-Age-of-Zircons.pdf

    The long version is 76 pages. I’ve only read the two page version on pp. 210-212 of Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels so far.

    > Over the time scale of uranium’s half-life, the variations you’re looking at are insignificant – hours vs. millions of years. (If you want to criticize me for getting orders of magnitude wrong, don’t commit the same mistake yourself.)

    Um… yeah, before you say I’m making that mistake…

    “Rhenium-187 is another spectacular example. 187Re normally beta decays to 187Os with a half-life of 41.6 × 10^9 years, but studies using fully ionised 187Re atoms (bare nuclei) have found that this can decrease to only 33 years.” – Wikipedia.

    …that’s a variation of 9 orders of magnitude. 9.1006 if you want to split hairs. Divide the half-life of 238U like that and it comes to 3.546 years, about 0.55 orders of magnitude, of, oh 9.65 orders of magnitude it needs to be reduced by in order to make the Flood scenario possible.

    > My good man, “kitbashing peptides and getting lucky” is exactly how evolution works. It’s the specific part of the process you’ve been claiming can’t happen.

    Yet another strawman: The process I’m claiming can’t happen is novel genetic information. I will not let you forget that for long.

    > The only difference between directed evolution and the natural process is that the directed sort has an intelligent agent imposing an environment and the natural sort doesn’t (except for divine providence, which isn’t empirically detectable.)

    Divine providence is empirically detectable. What it is not is scientifically measurable, as it is not repeatable and predictable in a scientific experiment. As for “testable”, try Malachi 3:8-10 and see how it really works. The issue that makes it scientifically unmeasurable is the intelligent agencies involved.

    > I know this opinion is widespread among Protestants. So much the worse for them. There’s too many other points of doctrine on which Protestant theologians disagree with the beliefs of the Apostles and their immediate successors…

    See Galatians 1:6-9. You see, a major part of the reason I don’t take the Pope as a born-again Christian is because his gospel is not this gospel. (I also want to be explicit that I am not divulging my opinion as to whether he is antichrist or not.) The gospel of Hugh Ross is not the gospel in the Bible. The gospel of John Millam is not the gospel in the Bible. The gospel of William Henry Green is not in the Bible. The gospel of Charles Lol- sorry, Charles Lyell, is not the gospel in the Bible.

    Is yours?

    > (Winter from now on) Not quite. “Creationism” as a movement and ideology is a late 19th century or 20th century invention, depending on your definitions.

    No. Evolution (or philosophical naturalism to be more precise) is the movement and ideology, an invention of the late 18th to early 19th century. Not exactly, as elements of it date back to at least the ancient Greeks, but the form that visits the modern body of scientific evidence is just that old. You’ve bought into flat-out lies by this Evolution movement regarding biblical creationism.

    > Now that I have the “ear” of a Young Earth Creationist, I would like to ask a question that has bothered me for some time. The bible has two different stories about the creation of the earth and man. The first from Genesis 1:1 thru Genesis 2:3; and the second from Genesis 2:4 thru Genesis 2:25. They do not tell the same story and are sometimes contradictory.

    They are not contradictory at all. First, a small, but very significant correction: The first doesn’t end until Genesis 2:4, and the beginning of the second is actually Genesis 2:5. It’s a little unusual for a “generations” header to come after the narrative it refers to, but it happened here. The second story backs up about a day and a half vs. the end of the first and describes the details which are summarized by Genesis 1:27-30.

    > Expanding the Enzyme Universe: Accessing Non-Natural Reactions by Mechanism-Guided Directed Evolution

    I don’t know if it’s new if I can’t access the full text of the article. I don’t trust mere abstracts. That’s how a scientific paper about the lack of success in in vitro fertilization and the implantation of the resulting blastulas can turn into bullshit like the first twelve seconds of this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IPrw0NYkMg

    It was elsewhere on Youtube, but when I challenged someone to back this up in the scientific literature, he posted a link with a very impressive title and abstract, but I didn’t even need to finish the first paragraph of the main text before it was apparent that the title and abstract left out one detail that chucks the entire argument in the trash. I believe it would be quite likely I could do the same in this case.

    (Incidentally, I recently examined a certain 1998 February Lancet paper – took a little browser tweaking to read through the huge “RETRACTED” on it – by a certain Dr. Andrew Lakefield (Dr. at the time), and found a similar flaw within moments. How that paper exploded into one of the biggest social mess conspiracy theories I’ve ever heard of is a total mystery to me. As near as I can tell, the only thing that makes it fundamentally different from any “normal” bullshit paper I can slide off the debate table with a standard-issue thud is that the Lancet actually busted the guy for fraud, retracted the paper, and got him struck off. I’m not about to believe there’s a link between vaccines and autism. But the other side of the issue has a Dr. Paul Thorsen participating in 21 of 24 studies on this side of the pond similarly having crossed it to escape the locale where he’s most notorious. He’s actually on the US Office of the Inspector General’s most wanted list, so I’m not about to believe there isn’t a link between vaccines and autism either.)

  289. Terry: “The first one quotes 12th century Byzantine historian Constantinius Manasses as having said the Egyptian kingdom lasted 1663 years prior to the conquest of Egypt by Persia in 526BC. Comes to 2188BC. In Wikipedia, I don’t have to go anywhere near that far back before radiocarbon dating is relied upon. (Radionuclide dating of any kind has always been shown as less reliable than documentary dating, e.g. 2.6 million year old rock we literally watched harden from lava at Mt. St. Helen’s in 1986.)”

    It is proven by documents that Neferhotep I, a pharoah of the 13th Dynasty, was a contemporary of Hammurabi of Babylon, who died in 1750 BC. To accept Manasses’ dates we would have to fit the first 12 Dynasties in Egypt into less than 450 years – an interval that in the conventional chronology is three times as long. This is impossible.

    And no, very few dates in Egyptian chronology depend on radiometric dating. Most of it is based on regnal years and records of astronomical observations. Carbon-carbon dating is chiefly used for sites dating before the Old Kingdom period.

    “There are records of the global Flood all over the world, and the oft-cited Epic of Gilgamesh people like to claim has priority on the Bible is the least consistent among these Flood legends.”

    You miss the point. On Scriptural grounds alone the Babel episode has to be placed before the earliest written texts in any language, including Egyptian, and Noah’s Flood comes before that. The existence of any written text dated before 2300BC is not consistent with Ussher’s chronology or any variation of it based on his sources and assumptions. And yet we have recovered many such written texts – not just from Egypt, but also from Sumer and Akkad.

    “No, I’m not, I’ve crunched my own numbers, and so have many, many others. Let’s set one up right now. All reproducing organisms need something called polymerase […] To solve the simplest part of successfully mutating a polymerase gene and its associated chicken-and-egg enzyme from scratch”

    You may have forgotten what you read of “Darwin’s Black Box”, but what you’ve said here is very much in Behe’s style – and is refuted the same way.

    On chirality in particular – you are assuming that on the primordial Earth, left- and right-handed organic molecules existed in equal concentrations, and that left-handed amino acids are just as likely to interact with left-handed sugars as with right-handed ones. The first assumption is ungrounded, and the second is clearly false; stereoisomers always have different chemical properties. All your calculation shows is that the chiral preference of living things isn’t random; it can, however, be traced to more basic chemical processes.

    “The process I’m claiming can’t happen is novel genetic information.”

    What you called “kitbashing peptides” is creating novel genetic information. There’s no coherent way to distinguish the two.

    “Divine providence is empirically detectable. What it is not is scientifically measurable, as it is not repeatable and predictable in a scientific experiment.”

    “Empirically detectable” and “scientifically measurable” are synonyms; being repeatable at will is not necessary for a measurement. (If it were, the documented observation of the supernova that formed the Crab Nebula wouldn’t have been a measurement.) And by definition, every event that happens at all is a result of God’s providence – which means no empirical observation can detect it.

    “Nope. Diffusion doesn’t stop at room temperature. Especially with something that boils at -249degC.”

    May I ask why you are fixated on helium diffusion, which is subject to a host of experimental errors, and do not even try to address uranium-lead radiometric dating, which is much less sensitive to such problems?

    By the way, here is a criticism of one of RATE’s experiments with helium diffusion.

    “See Galatians 1:6-9…”

    To use your own formula, the gospel of James Ussher is not the gospel of Christ; it’s the work of a man, who lived long after the Apostles and lacked evidence we now have. Unless you claim to be divinely inspired like St. Paul, your opinion on what is the gospel of Christ is worth no more than mine.

    “Evolution (or philosophical naturalism to be more precise) is the movement and ideology, an invention of the late 18th to early 19th century.”

    Philosophical naturalism is not “evolution”; it’s a metaphysical position, not open to empirical refutation, and its supporters’ claim that the scientific tradition is evidence for it is without warrant. Thus attacking evolutionary biology to bring down philosophical naturalism is doubly foolish. It doesn’t deal with the actual issues, and it makes you sound like a crackpot to every trained scientist, whether they believe in God or not.

  290. @Terry
    “Nope. Diffusion doesn’t stop at room temperature. Especially with something that boils at -249degC. By the way, that’s the shortest possible version of, well…”

    Diffusion of Helium in a crystal depends exponentially on temperature. Yes, there is diffusion, but not at a speed that makes a difference over a billion years or so. Your remark makes as much sense as saying that the glass of window panes is technically a fluid. Yes, it is, but it does not make a difference.

    But this has been explained well and clearly in the links given above.

    @Terry
    “Rhenium-187”

    And how does that affect Uranium isotope dating? You need thermonuclear reactions to change the decay of Uranium and its decendands. Give us some evidence such things are relevant in this discussion.

  291. > (Michael until otherwise noted) It is proven by documents that Neferhotep I, a pharoah of the 13th Dynasty, was a contemporary of Hammurabi of Babylon, who died in 1750 BC.

    Sounds interesting. Can you link me to something about that or drop a book title I can search at the library? I do know that the Egyptian chronology has been shrinking over the last several decades from starting at about 4000BC and later (currently?) at 2800BC. Given that the Bible is about a thousand times as reliable as second place in documents of its class, I expect the evidence to converge on its timeline as we find more. I also know that about 75% of academics are interested in disproving the Bible, so will not be easily convinced. A lot of them are responsible for the research being done.

    > And no, very few dates in Egyptian chronology depend on radiometric dating.

    That might be true in the actual circles of Egyptology, but Wikipedia is not in any of these circles and tends to screw things up when it comes to matters of history. It has at the top of an article “Radiocarbon dating places the exact beginning of the New Kingdom between 1570–1544 BC.” I’m not sure how much of an Egyptologist you are, but certainly more than I. Enough of one to find this bit of text disturbing?

    > You miss the point.

    You must be trying to confuse me, then. From earlier:

    > Therefore Ussher’s date must be wrong; if anything even remotely like a world-covering flood had occurred during the Old Kingdom era, someone would have left a record of the event.

    “someone” here is definitely not exclusive to the ancient Egyptians, who weren’t the most diligent of chroniclers anyway. And it certainly a valid argument in favour of Noah’s Flood that we have records of it just about everywhere else.

    > On Scriptural grounds alone the Babel episode has to be placed before the earliest written texts in any language

    Wut? There certainly can be written texts in the original language from prior to Babel. Also, were I there, one of the very first things I’d want to do after Babel is get my oral traditions written down for comparison to try to get at least some communication open by having something common to translate from. All that would necessarily include the history from before the Babel event! We see what would be predicted from such an environment, including well-maintained oral traditions that, for whatever reason, were never written down before the language group was encountered by interested scholars (often missionaries.) There is an explosion of writing development in all cultures temporally associated with Babel, just as one would expect. When concerning pre-Babel events, there is a lot of agreement; most of it agrees with the Bible, and, especially in light of more modern efforts to “debunk” the history we find in the first nine chapters of Genesis, there should be people making shit up even back then.

    > On chirality in particular – you are assuming that on the primordial Earth, left- and right-handed organic molecules existed in equal concentrations,

    They did in the Urey-Miller experiment and others like it. Loose amino acids tend to racemize on their own, and nucleotides are even more unstable, tending to disappear entirely under similar circumstances.

    > All your calculation shows is that the chiral preference of living things isn’t random; it can, however, be traced to more basic chemical processes.

    Citation needed. Racemization is a more basic chemical process than anything in biology. Undoing it requires rather exact forms of energy we don’t find outside of living cells. Like I said a while ago, the laws of thermodynamics, aerodynamics, and combustion which explain how a jet engine works are incapable of producing a jet engine on their own. The most basic prokaryotic cells known are more complex than a gas turbine-powered jet engine factory, and you’re arguing that “basic chemical processes” produced these engines and factories without any intelligent input. Why?

    > What you called “kitbashing peptides” is creating novel genetic information. There’s no coherent way to distinguish the two.

    Simply denying my argument without the level of detail I used to make it is not going to get you anywhere. This statement is simply bullshit, not a rebuttal in the slightest.

    > “Empirically detectable” and “scientifically measurable” are synonyms

    That’s bullshit.

    > being repeatable at will is not necessary for a measurement. (If it were, the documented observation of the supernova that formed the Crab Nebula wouldn’t have been a measurement.)

    You’re confusing scientific measurement with historical measurement, a tactic common among atheists. Supernovae aren’t scientifically measurable because we don’t yet have the technology to make a supernova lab. Particle accelerators are expensive enough and we can learn a few things about the processes inside supernovae through them, but no, supernovae are a historical phenomenon, not a scientific one.

    > And by definition, every event that happens at all is a result of God’s providence – which means no empirical observation can detect it.

    We can talk about that too if you like. God’s providence is certainly not undetectable, but I’m all but perfectly certain that the reason you aren’t seeing it is because you refuse to look.

    > May I ask why you are fixated on helium diffusion, which is subject to a host of experimental errors, and do not even try to address uranium-lead radiometric dating, which is much less sensitive to such problems?

    Here you pulled two assumptions out of thin air and state them as fact, the sort of tactic of one making shit up whole cloth. How do you know helium diffusion is subject to “a host of experimental errors” and U-Pb radiometric dating “is much less sensitive to such problems”? I just sent you to a 76 page study just to say otherwise!

    > By the way, here is a criticism of one of RATE’s experiments with helium diffusion.

    How valuable is it really?

    “Some creationists claim that there is too much helium in Earth’s crust for the earth to be any more than two million years old (Sarfati, 2005)”

    This is pretty early in the article and I’m almost certain it is a flat-out misquote. But, the citation is incomplete, so I can’t even check it. This is the sort of thing someone who doesn’t want to be checked would write. The reference link at the end of the article is broken, however, I found it’s CMI mirror, which I’m pretty sure is the same article and, well… “Creation 20(3):19–21 June 1998”

    If I’m correct, it’s definitely is a flat-out misquote because the closest thing in that article (and awfully close for a coincidence) is that the atmosphere contains too little helium to be more than two million years old.

    “In order to fully quantify the rock samples they obtained, the above two questions need to be thoroughly answered to secure the quality of the rock being sampled.”

    The questions raised are also ones not answered by those supporting Evolutionist interpretations. Why do creationists need to be held to standards so much higher than those of Evolutionists?

    I have an oops, though…

    > (Terry) Nope. Diffusion doesn’t stop at room temperature.

    It turns out that in the case of helium bearing zircons, it nearly does. This is why the borehole temperature is significant. There’s another thing though: the helium diffusion rate in the zircon was compared to the helium rate in the surrounding material (biotite), where it diffuses a heck of a lot faster. The major barrier to helium diffusion is the zircon itself. Another thing about the data, is that the age of 6000 years given in the RATE paperwork has a standard deviation of 2000 years, which leads to a three-sigma (99.7%) uncertainty zone of 0-12000 years, of which 4.5 billion years is quite some ways away. Not very good in support of biblical creation, but still a showstopper for Evolution. Your critic says it’s 4600 years, which comes to -7200 to 19200 years. Not much worse in support of biblical creation, but still a showstopper for Evolution. But the guy appears to have gotten the date of a recent article off by 7 years, so why should I believe Ward instead of Sarfati?

    > To use your own formula, the gospel of James Ussher is not the gospel of Christ; it’s the work of a man, who lived long after the Apostles and lacked evidence we now have. Unless you claim to be divinely inspired like St. Paul, your opinion on what is the gospel of Christ is worth no more than mine.

    You are arguing against the plain meaning of historical text in the Bible while I am arguing in favour of it. It is obvious that Genesis 1 (slightly more obvious in Hebrew than in English translations) says that God created in six literal 24 hour days. Regardless of the interim of time since then, that is what the Bible says.

    I am arguing Bible-first while you are arguing Man’s-assumptions-first. Only the former can support the gospel that is in the Bible and the latter is subject to Galatians 1:6-9.

    > Philosophical naturalism is not “evolution”; it’s a metaphysical position, not open to empirical refutation, and its supporters’ claim that the scientific tradition is evidence for it is without warrant.

    I can agree with this. However, Evolution as a historical narrative came from philosophical naturalism and is used to support it. It’s the only historical narrative they have, although the details can vary wildly (I’m surprised at how little they have in recent decades.)

    > Thus attacking evolutionary biology to bring down philosophical naturalism is doubly foolish. It doesn’t deal with the actual issues, and it makes you sound like a crackpot to every trained scientist, whether they believe in God or not.

    I can’t make any sense of this. You need to explain to me how the conclusion follows from the premises you presented, ‘cus I’m definitely missing something here.

    > (Winter) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4404643/

    Thanks. I need a break now. Remind me if I forget.

  292. Me: “It is proven by documents that Neferhotep I, a pharoah of the 13th Dynasty, was a contemporary of Hammurabi of Babylon, who died in 1750 BC.”

    Terry: “Sounds interesting. Can you link me to something about that or drop a book title I can search at the library?”

    The documents in question are an archive of ~25,000 cuneiform tablets, written in Akkadian, which were found at Mari, Syria beginning in 1933. That should be enough for you to find all the details you want at a good research library.

    “And it certainly a valid argument in favour of Noah’s Flood that we have records of it just about everywhere else.”

    I must correct you. We do not have records of a universal flood from many locations; what we have are legends of such a flood. A record would have some attempt to establish a date for the disaster. The legends which we have make no such attempt; all (yes, even the Bible) place it in an indeterminate yet distant past.

    And the point here isn’t whether Noah’s Flood happened at all; it’s whether it could have happened when James Ussher or others following his methods say it did.

    “Wut? There certainly can be written texts in the original language from prior to Babel.”

    1) Egyptian and Sumerian were distinct languages, and their written forms are unrelated; thus if we take the Babel story literally, both languages, in oral and written forms, arose after that. Neither can be the pre-Babel language.
    2) We have Egyptian inscriptions and Sumerian tablets that were created around 3100 BC; thus a literal Babel cannot have happened any later than ~3300 BC.
    3) An Ussherite chronology puts Babel shortly after the Flood, ~2300 BC – a full milennium too soon; thus all such chronologies are erroneous.

    “The most basic prokaryotic cells known are more complex than a gas turbine-powered jet engine factory, and you’re arguing that “basic chemical processes” produced these engines and factories without any intelligent input. ”

    No, I am not arguing that. I am arguing for deep time, or that the age of the Earth is in the billions of years. It’s the origin of species, not the origin of life, that requires deep time to explain. How the first prokaryotic cell came to exist is, at this time, an open question, and I don’t intend to base any argument on possible answers to it – especially since I don’t need to.

    Me: “What you called “kitbashing peptides” is creating novel genetic information. There’s no coherent way to distinguish the two.”

    Terry: “Simply denying my argument without the level of detail I used to make it is not going to get you anywhere.”

    What, that argument? Sorry, Terry, but you didn’t manage to distinguish “novel genetic information” from the results of mutations. You’ve asserted that there’s a difference several times, but nothing you’ve said has demonstrated it.

    Your specific claim is that “kitbashing peptides” (that is, random changes in gene sequences) cannot, under any circumstances, produce the code for a new functional enzyme; or, that the results of any process incorporating chance can never serve a useful purpose. The directed evolution experiments are a test of just that claim; because they worked, they refute it.

    “How do you know helium diffusion is subject to “a host of experimental errors” and U-Pb radiometric dating “is much less sensitive to such problems”? I just sent you to a 76 page study just to say otherwise!”

    A study on helium diffusion rates only doesn’t refute U-Pb radiometry. As for the relative errors? There’s literally no way to tell whether a He-4 molecule inside a zircon crystal came from decay of uranium caught inside it, decay of radioisotopes from elsewhere, or the original coalescence of the Earth. Helium diffuses into a hot crystal just as easily as out of it. When lead is inside a zircon crystal, you know it came from uranium decay.

    “I have an oops, though… ‘Nope. Diffusion doesn’t stop at room temperature.’ It turns out that in the case of helium bearing zircons, it nearly does.”

    Yep, that’s a pretty big mistake you made there. This is why helium concentrations in zircon don’t tell us anything about when the zircon formed, just when it cooled, as I already said.

    “You are arguing against the plain meaning of historical text in the Bible while I am arguing in favour of it. It is obvious that Genesis 1 (slightly more obvious in Hebrew than in English translations) says that God created in six literal 24 hour days. Regardless of the interim of time since then, that is what the Bible says.”

    I need only reply that this “obvious” meaning was not in fact obvious to the Apostles or their immediate successors, as can be seen by examining their surviving works – and that, since it was they who drew up the list of texts that comprise the Bible, it’s improper to judge them by the Bible. (Er, you do know when, and by whom, the Biblical canon was fixed, don’t you?)

    “God’s providence is certainly not undetectable, but I’m all but perfectly certain that the reason you aren’t seeing it is because you refuse to look.”

    This is quite simple to understand, really. Suppose you go out in a meadow and notice a flower, and then say “This flower came here by God’s providence.” But no matter what you saw at the spot where the flower is, you could say just as truthfully “that came here by God’s providence.” Even if there were nothing there but bare earth, it would be providential that nothing was there.

    It follows that there is no conceivable observation which would show that God’s providence is not at work. But an empirical statement is one which, in principle, can be proved or refuted by observation. Declaring something to be “providential” isn’t a conclusion from our observations of it, because we can say as much without knowing the first thing about it.

    The same distinction applies to philosophical naturalism. Democritus didn’t say “nothing exists but atoms and the void” because he knew anything about the elementary constituents of matter from observing nature. He said so because he denied teleology’s existence in the natural world, for quite separate reasons.

  293. @Terry
    “The second story backs up about a day and a half vs. the end of the first and describes the details which are summarized by Genesis 1”

    When you compare the two stories, it is obvious that you use one version of “literal meanings”, taking the words and sentences at face value, in the first, and “alternative meanings”, in the second.

    Not only the length of creation is different, but also the order in which the things on the earth are created is different. And nowhere can that section be fit into a detail of the first section, unless you change the meaning of the words and bends the semantics into a prettzle.

    I know theology is able to change the meaning of every text from black to white and back. But if you claim one set of rules for interpretating the first story, and an incompatible set of rules for the second, I know I am being conned.

  294. > (Winter for entire reply) When you compare the two stories, it is obvious that you use one version of “literal meanings”, taking the words and sentences at face value, in the first, and “alternative meanings”, in the second.

    Nonsense. If you’re talking about literal vs. figurative days, the word translated “day” is a different Hebrew word with the figurative day (the literal day is transliterated “yom” and the figurative day is transliterated “beyom”.)

    > Not only the length of creation is different, but also the order in which the things on the earth are created is different. And nowhere can that section be fit into a detail of the first section, unless you change the meaning of the words and bends the semantics into a prettzle.

    You can’t just say that. Quote the text and walk me through exactly why this is the case. Be warned though: I am more familiar with this section of the Bible than most Christians I’ve discussed it with. I therefore already know you are either making shit up or plagiarizing someone who has.

    > I know theology is able to change the meaning of every text from black to white and back.

    Thanks for the demonstration.

    Sorry guys for the short reply, I didn’t have much time this round.

  295. @Terry
    “Quote the text and walk me through exactly why this is the case.”

    I am sure you are more knowledgeable than me about the bible. But I am not in the habit of reinventing wheels all the time. I look for people who have done a lot of work on wheel development. And, frankly, everyone who is not a creationist reads these two parts of Genesis as two separate, independent creation stories. Which is also the position of the Catholic church:
    http://biblestudyforcatholics.com/two-different-accounts-creation/

    I think Edmund Leach did a very nice job in explaining Genesis:
    http://n.ereserve.fiu.edu/BB14769.pdf

    Here is a critical evaluation of his work:
    Leach, Genesis, and Structural Analysis: A Critical Evaluation
    https://www.jstor.org/stable/643625
    (you can read it for free online)

  296. @Terry
    “Quote the text and walk me through exactly why this is the case.”

    I will not walk you through step by step. Others have done so much better than I ever could.

    Here are some more accounts about the two stories of the creation of man in Genesis. Notice that quite different approaches lead to the same conclusion: These are two different stories about the same “event”.

    http://www.bibleodyssey.org/passages/related-articles/two-creations-in-genesis.aspx

    http://www.leighb.com/genesis.htm

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/accounts.html

    http://thetorah.com/conceptions-of-the-divine-creator/

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/ev_bibl.htm

    Now, there are also some attempts to massage, bend and twist the second story into the first. This textual torture is only found in US creationists. They seem to be the only ones who cannot live with the stories as they are told.

  297. esr wrote:
    > Chaperones

    That is very perceptive, and reveals what this debate is about, which is imposing the maximum possible restrictions on male sexual behavior and absolutely no restrictions on female sexual behavior (thereby making it easy for females to tell high status males from low status males, high status males being the ones that light heartedly get away with defying these restrictions, as Trump does. Watch Trump with his female fans.)

    The traditional view was that if you gave a woman half a chance she would crawl nine miles over broken glass to have sex with her demon lover, with disastrous consequences for everyone, and that therefore women had to be guarded at all times, not so much to protect them from predatory males, as to protect them from themselves.

    In the traditional arrangement, if you hit on a woman, the risk was not so much that the sexual advance might be unwelcome, as that the advance might be welcome with the result that the alpha male supervising her might kill you.

    Since eggs are precious and sperm is cheap, the traditional arrangement, sensibly enough, is to guard the eggs, and to particularly and especially guard those eggs from high status males, thus in the traditional arrangement, the main concern is not so much that bad males are plotting against the guardian, as that bad girls are plotting against the guardian.

    The trouble with guarding women from low status males, without guarding a woman from herself, is that all the women have sex with a small minority of high status males, resulting in reduced family formation and reduced male investment in children.

  298. > Now, there are also some attempts to massage, bend and twist the second story into the first. This textual torture is only found in US creationists.

    I am an atheist, and doubt the story of Genesis because it is perfectly obvious that the earth is ancient beyond the ability of human imagination. But to argue that the two Genesis stories are in conflict is quite silly.

    In one, God creates man, and gives him the earth as generous gift. In the other, God creates man and gives him the earth as a punishment for disobedience. No contradiction. It is a punishment and a gift, which is the whole damn point. See also the book of Job for further elucidation on this point. The people who wrote this stuff were smarter, and more importantly better poets and mythmakers, than you. If the stories contradicted each other, they would have noticed and cleaned them up.

    It is obviously a false story about the origin of the world, but a true story about the human condition, reflecting the fact that those making up this story had no idea how the world was actually formed, but a pretty good grasp of the human condition. So they made up a consistent but false story about the origin of the world, and spun that story twice, giving it two different frames, to reflect the ambiguity of the human condition.

  299. @JAD
    “But to argue that the two Genesis stories are in conflict is quite silly.”

    They are not in conflict if you interpret them as narratives about the relation between god and man. Then these two versions tell the same story from different perspectives.

    They are in conflict if you think of them as historical accurate time lines of the creation of the universe.

  300. You’re the one who sees a contradiction between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, and I do not and then…

    > (Winter) Now, there are also some attempts to massage, bend and twist the second story into the first. This textual torture is only found in US creationists. They seem to be the only ones who cannot live with the stories as they are told.

    …you post this. It’s funnier than /r/SubredditSimulator.

    > (JAD) I am an atheist, and doubt the story of Genesis because it is perfectly obvious that the earth is ancient beyond the ability of human imagination.

    This we disagree on.

    > But to argue that the two Genesis stories are in conflict is quite silly.

    This we agree on. Thus those in the silly realm of compromising scripture with deep time find themselves the common enemy of both genuine don’t-sweeten-their-tea Christians and genuine atheists. (That’s a reference to a would-be non-fallacious version of the true Scotsman fallacy.)

    > (Michael) No, I am not arguing that. I am arguing for deep time, or that the age of the Earth is in the billions of years. It’s the origin of species, not the origin of life, that requires deep time to explain. How the first prokaryotic cell came to exist is, at this time, an open question, and I don’t intend to base any argument on possible answers to it – especially since I don’t need to.

    Starting here, you sound so ridiculous that my jaw dropped and I was wondering if I was witnessing someone typing during an actual TGA attack.

    1) Deep time in modern atheistic/deistic cosmogenesis is required for the origin of life, not the origin of species. The latter has two demonstrations that deep time is not necessary:

    a) If you want to take the standard-issue deep timeline seriously, every multicellular phyla known to have ever existed appeared between 550 and 542 million years ago in the “Cambrian Explosion”.

    b) We have observed speciation in historic time. A famous example is the Underground mosquito. That capitalization is not a typo: it’s a species of mosquito specific to the London, UK subway system that will not breed with any other species of mosquito.

    c) The simplest possible self-reproducible organism assumed as a starting point, we still have roughly a gigabyte of novel compressed genetic information to account for in each individual multicellular organisms, including thousands of features whose half-baked forms confer selection disadvantages when compared to simpler ancestors, making them impossible to Evolve (i.e. develop from random mutations and natural selection) even with billions of years in which to do so. That’s the difference between Evolution and mere speciation.

    > (Michael) What, that argument? Sorry, Terry, but you didn’t manage to distinguish “novel genetic information” from the results of mutations. You’ve asserted that there’s a difference several times, but nothing you’ve said has demonstrated it.

    I demonstrated it using actual text. Intellectually, you stood on a rail line and got run over by a train by refusing to believe in the existence of the rails and trains like a caveman who just stepped out of a time portal. This sort of nonsense seriously had me wondering if you were suffering a physiological problem, such as a cerebral aneurysm, when I first read it. Yes, it is that bad!

    Refresher links:
    Single-letter mutations: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6758#comment-1797927
    Insertion/deletion mutations: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6758#comment-1798667

    > (Michael) A study on helium diffusion rates only doesn’t refute U-Pb radiometry. As for the relative errors? There’s literally no way to tell whether a He-4 molecule inside a zircon crystal came from decay of uranium caught inside it, decay of radioisotopes from elsewhere, or the original coalescence of the Earth. Helium diffuses into a hot crystal just as easily as out of it. When lead is inside a zircon crystal, you know it came from uranium decay.

    Once again, I sent you a link to a 76 page study just to say otherwise. This isn’t a refutation, it’s simply denying the argument.

    > (Michael) This is quite simple to understand, really. Suppose you go out in a meadow and notice a flower…

    Providence is evidenced by extremely improbable occurrences which defy natural explanation, not by everyday happenstance and claiming that every possibility is providence. This is why I wanted to strangle Chris Tomlin the first time I heard Indescribable, with the line “Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go?” and a couple of other musicians with lyrics in such a character. You’ve totally missed the point. To be clear, it is distinct from miracles: Providence transcends probability, while miracles transcend physics. (Quantum mechanics has blurred that up along with everything else, lol!)

    > (Michael) It follows that there is no conceivable observation which would show that God’s providence is not at work.

    You wouldn’t accept the consistent success of lightning protection systems in Chris Tomlin’s example? I do.

    > (Michael) The same distinction applies to philosophical naturalism. Democritus didn’t say “nothing exists but atoms and the void” because he knew anything about the elementary constituents of matter from observing nature. He said so because he denied teleology’s existence in the natural world, for quite separate reasons.

    I’ve seen the back and forth of this debate, and have concluded these reasons aren’t separate at all. Paul, Peter, Ray Comfort and I are all in agreement: the reason hasn’t changed in thousands of years. One can believe they are to avoid accountability for the conduct of their lives if there is no powerful, present, and just God. Deep down, both he and you are looking for ways to deny this God or one or more of these characteristics (e.g. Dawkins and many other atheists deny both God and all of these characteristics. When confronted with teleological reality, they stare at the ceiling and ask them to stop the camera. Or they make jokes and insults that don’t even begin to address the arguments.)

  301. > (Winter) Now, there are also some attempts to massage, bend and twist the second story into the first. This textual torture is only found in US creationists. They seem to be the only ones who cannot live with the stories as they are told.

    …This is me getting really dumb. It was actually JAD who posted this. However, “This textual torture is only found in US creationists” is nonsense. I don’t know of any biblical creationists who see a contradiction. Are you referring to non-biblical creationists i.e. people who delude themselves (Dawkins’ words) into thinking the Biblical account of creation is compatible with the Darwin schedule?

  302. @Terry,
    ” I don’t know of any biblical creationists who see a contradiction.”

    And how many of those are found outside of the USA?

    I have posted examples from scholars of several different strands of biblical thinking, including Jews, Catholics, and protestants that did clearly see and understand the differences between the stories. Even the “biblical creationist”‘s own online forums are having to explain time and again to their own people that they should ignore what they read and accept the faith that the text is not saying what the words say.

    You can believe everything you want, and delude yourself in every way. But your interpretation of these two Genesis stories are convoluted, Procrustean, and counter to what the words of the text say in every language and translation. And the evidence is in every new reader of these stories that will come to you asking for an explanation of how these two stories are to be describing the same events.

    And on the age of the earth? Your counter-evidence is just silly. It boils down to claiming all the hundreds of thousands of scientist who worked on these matters over the last century are crooks, frauds, and imbeciles. The counter evidence? Nothing of substance (as explained in the links posted)

  303. > (Terry quoted) I don’t know of any biblical creationists who see a contradiction.

    > (Winter) And how many of those are found outside of the USA?

    Your ignorance is showing again, Winter. The answer is “Almost all of them.” CMI’s website is hosted in New Zealand, many of their famous speakers (including Ken Ham if you want to include AiG) are from Australia, their television studios and largest conferences are in Canada. Emil Silvestru’s Romanian accent is thicker than oobleck in an earthquake. Of the nine authors of Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels, one of them (Robert Carter) is from the USA. Walter Veith of the SDAC is from South Africa, as are many of his compatriots. Need I go on?

    Remember the principle of garbage in, garbage out: If your basic facts are wrong, your conclusions can’t be reliable.

    > (Winter) I have posted examples from scholars of several different strands of biblical thinking, including Jews, Catholics, and protestants that did clearly see and understand the differences between the stories.

    Once again: garbage in, garbage out. You’re relying on unreliable sources who read what they want into the text, not reading out of the text what’s actually there. An historical account does not always need to be in chronological order, although that is most useful (a fact not lost on Luke, apparently the last of the Gospel authors to start his account, taking care to put the events “in order” (Luke 1:1) after noticing that there wasn’t yet such an account.) Genesis 1:1-2:4 hammers it home repeatedly that it is a chronological account of six days. Plus you have Genesis 2:5 talking about the plants and herbs and “not a man to till the ground”. Genesis 2:9 is past tense. In a nutshell, your “scholars” either can’t read the Bible, or don’t want to. That disqualifies them as biblical creationists.

    > (Winter) You can believe everything you want, and delude yourself in every way.

    So can you. And in this thread, it has been your bullshit sensors that are malfunctioning, not mine.

    > (Winter) And on the age of the earth? Your counter-evidence is just silly. It boils down to claiming all the hundreds of thousands of scientist…

    Case in point: there aren’t hundreds of thousands of scientist (sic) working on these things…

    > (Michael) Tens of thousands? Not at all. Active climate research is being done by very few people – twenty? thirty? – at a number of institutions that can be counted on one hand.

    …and those who aren’t creationists already are confounded by the evidence they find and can’t answer simple questions about the disconnects between their atheistic beliefs and the evidence.

    > (Winter) …who worked on these matters over the last century are crooks, frauds, and imbeciles.

    A lot of them are. Scientific fraud is a huge problem even in our modern peer-reviewed science journals. Just look at vaccine injury research where you have Andrew Wakefield on one side struck off the list of medical practitioners in the UK, and Poul Thorsen on the other, an actual fugitive with outstanding warrants having worked on the vast majority of USA CDC’s vaccine research studies. Would you like a list of examples for deep time and evolution? (The reason I haven’t posted any this comment is because I’ve already mentioned quite a few in earlier comments on this thread. I know it’s too much to expect you to notice, but…)

  304. @Terry
    “You’re relying on unreliable sources who read what they want into the text, not reading out of the text what’s actually there.”

    The Vatican are among them, including the Pope, and also the Archbishop of Canterbury. The rest of your counter-arguments are equally silly.

    @Terry
    “Scientific fraud is a huge problem even in our modern peer-reviewed science journals.”

    When you are arguing the common view is all based on “Scientific fraud” to advocate an alternative reality, you are disposing of science itself. As I said, there is simply no scientific basis to Creationism, none at all. It is just religious faith run wild.

  305. > (Winter) The Vatican are among them, including the Pope, and also the Archbishop of Canterbury. The rest of your counter-arguments are equally silly.

    My correctly functioning bullshit sensors have detected an appeal-to-authority fallacy here. But there is this as well:

    “Is not every Christian obliged to sanctify Sunday and to abstain on that day from unnecessary servile work? Is not the observance of this law among the most prominent of our sacred duties? But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify.” – James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers (1917 edition), p. 72-73 (16th Edition, p 111; 88th Edition, p. 89).

    This was repeated on the now defunct Immaculate Heart website in 2003 December. The Roman Catholic Church’s thinking is not biblical and I will thank you never to claim again that it is. Good grief!

    > (Winter) When you are arguing the common view is all based on “Scientific fraud” to advocate an alternative reality, you are disposing of science itself.

    My correctly functioning bullshit sensors have detected a bait-and-switch fallacy here, this time to confuse the definition of “science” and “fraud”. We can easily dispose of the fraud without disposing of the science.

    > (Winter) As I said, there is simply no scientific basis to Creationism, none at all. It is just religious faith run wild.

    This is simple denial mode, all you have to fall back on because you cannot answer any of my arguments.

    Winter, go home already. You are completely useless at this sort of thing.

  306. @Terry
    “The Roman Catholic Church’s thinking is not biblical and I will thank you never to claim again that it is. Good grief!”

    Indeed, it is not your biblical thinking. But only of the other 1.2 billion Christians. Obviously, your vision of the bible must be the one and only correct vision.

    @Terry
    “We can easily dispose of the fraud without disposing of the science.”

    Unless, all of the science is called fraud, and the rotten cherries picked by the true believers of the scriptures is called science. Science can measure gravitational waves, creationists are even unable to understand solid state thermodynamics.

    @Terry
    “This is simple denial mode, all you have to fall back on because you cannot answer any of my arguments.”

    See my many links above. These people did explain it very well. But no man as blind as he who does not want to see.

  307. > (Winter) Indeed, it is not your biblical thinking. But only of the other 1.2 billion Christians. Obviously, your vision of the bible must be the one and only correct vision.

    What part of “But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line” did you fail to understand? You’re quoting and denying your source at the same time! How am I supposed to respect that??

    Also, appealing to the authority of many people is still an appeal to authority fallacy and has no weight as an argument. Everyone can share the same opinion on a topic and still be wrong.

    (I find myself wondering if there is anything more frustrating to the literate than someone who can’t read quoting people who can’t read.)

    > (Winter) Science can measure gravitational waves, creationists are even unable to understand solid state thermodynamics.

    Creationists have written extensively on both topics in peer-reviewed scientific journals both creationist and secular. But I know you’re not going to be swayed if I post links, so for expedience’s sake, I won’t bother. Others let me know if you’re interested.

    > (Winter) See my many links above. These people did explain it very well. But no man as blind as he who does not want to see.

    I have, and you have not deigned to return such a simple favour as to answer the content of mine. You don’t want to see what I have to say, so take your blind man rhetoric and shove it.

    • >I have, and you have not deigned to return such a simple favour as to answer the content of mine. You don’t want to see what I have to say, so take your blind man rhetoric and shove it.

      Terry, I have reached my limit. You have been spamming my blog endlessly with this convoluted, insane blather and I will no longer tolerate it. You are now barred from any further advocacy of creationism on this blog on pain of instant and permanent banning.

      I am refraining from banning you now only because you have some history of saying interesting things when the delusion machine in your head is not actively fscking with your thinking.

      Winter, try to avoid triggering crazy people in the future. Engaging doesn’t help; their belief-maintainence systems are broken in a deeper and more subtle way than you understand. The brighter they are, the more effectively they defend their primary delusional system. The roots of it are not accessible to reason – in the case of religious nutters, they’ll even tell you that, it’s what they mean by ‘faith’.

  308. @Terry
    “What part of “But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line” did you fail to understand?”

    Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not ‘a magician with a magic wand’
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/pope-francis-declares-evolution-and-big-bang-theory-are-right-and-god-isnt-a-magician-with-a-magic-9822514.html
    http://time.com/3545844/pope-francis-evolution-creationism/

    More about the history of Catholic thinking can be found here:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_evolution

    Note that the Big Bang theory was initially developed by a Jesuit priest, Georges Lemaître.

    @Terry
    “Also, appealing to the authority of many people is still an appeal to authority fallacy and has no weight as an argument.”

    In this case, it is empirical evidence that your interpretation of Genesis is not the most natural for a religious person. Quite strong empirical evidence, I might say.

    @Terry
    “Creationists have written extensively on both topics in peer-reviewed scientific journals both creationist and secular.”

    They have not done a good job about the science. What I have seen was of abysmal quality. One thing the anti-science lobby cannot get right is the basic rule in science that your new and revolutionary theory must explain *almost all* of the facts (you are allowed to point out errors in the records). Not just throw doubt on a cherry here and there. So, you must not try to throw confusion on a single zircon outcrop, but explain most of them. But here, the creationists fail miserably as they never go beyond fanning smoke towards isolated cases.

    And the next quality of revolutionary theories, doing new predictions, is something creationism does not even talk about.

  309. > (winter) Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not ‘a magician with a magic wand’

    I’m dropping the stick now. Have fun.

  310. Eric, I am so very disappointed in you. You’re a bright boy who should know very well that pulling the censorship card in these circumstances is striking your colors in defeat. But you did that four years ago. You call me crazy without ever answering the arguments and the evidence upon which my opinions and beliefs are based, and never presenting an argument as to why I’m crazy. What if I wasn’t the one asking? What if someone else came by and asked, “Eric, why do you think Terry is crazy?” What would be your answer? Apparently, my ” belief-maintainence systems are broken in a deeper and more subtle way” than you can even articulate. Apparently, you can’t answer up at all.

    You also have an extremely relaxed definition of “You have been spamming my blog endlessly”: these conversations have been just two threads, none of them including the 29 posts newer than this one. I have been answering up on the points and have now decided to stop doing so, as clearly no one around here can answer up on the evidence.

    Now tell me, is your behaviour really becoming of an open source tribal elder you really are and the intellectual giant you seem to think you are?

    A final note for Winter: Jesuits are not Christian. They are so evil and nasty that they’ve earned well-deserved persecution even in nations ruled by Catholic monarchs. Were they to resume their former tactics today, they would be instantly branded as terrorists. That said, they have never recanted their twisted philosophies, at least not as a group.

    • >Eric, I am so very disappointed in you.

      Even one more word of this disingenuous nonsense will get you banned. Consider it evidence of my exceptional tolerance that you are not banned already, but do you not get to game that tolerance.

      I have not “answered” you because I judge you to be conditionally insane in a way that makes you not capable of processing that answer. If you want to continue as a guest on this blog, stay away from religion and creationism, remaining in areas where your delusion machine allows you to perform functional reasoning.

      Drop the meta-topic now or be banned.

  311. @esr
    “Winter, try to avoid triggering crazy people in the future.”

    I will try not to do this again. One of my (many) weak sides is that I do not know when to stop. But one lives and learns.

  312. > (Eric) I have not “answered” you because I judge you to be conditionally insane in a way that makes you not capable of processing that answer.

    My psychiatrist is asking you, Eric. Give an answer that he is capable of processing. Please?

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